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Make mobile access easy, says Gates

Bill Gates says bringing the Internet to wireless devices is a priority for Microsoft.
Bill Gates says bringing the Internet to wireless devices is a priority for Microsoft.  

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Making it easier to access the Internet via mobile devices is a key challenge for the IT industry, Microsoft's Bill Gates told CNN Friday.

In an exclusive interview, Gates said Microsoft "embraces all these devices" such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

"We've got to make it easier for users. So with our dotNet strategy, we are making applications that work across all these devices," Gates said in a satellite interview from Tokyo with CNN Hong Kong's Lian Pek.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates shares his views on the outlook for Asia's high-tech market.

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Commenting on the downturn in dotcom startups, Gates said it was important to recognise that the Internet continues to improve.

"As a tool, we will take it to new heights, even in the next year."

Gates said Microsoft wanted to facilitate technological development in every country in which it had a presence, including Hong Kong's Cyberport and Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor.

Gates described Microsoft's new games console, the Xbox, as a "breakthrough product". It will be launched in the northern autumn as a competitor to long-established games machines such as Sony's PlayStation2.

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"Sega is a fantastic games developer" - Bill Gates

He said games developers were "really seeing what it can do", especially in the broadband online gaming area.

"The Xbox has got the graphics, the audio and the hard disk. So even those people who already have a game machine will buy the Xbox."

Gates said the announcement that Japanese company Sega would develop 11 games for the Xbox was "very important milestone".

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CNN's Lian Pek interviews Bill Gates

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"Sega is a fantastic game developer, " adding that Microsoft had signed 70 games development agreements in Japan, on top of the many agreements it already had in the U.S.

Sega shares opened 5 percent higher in Tokyo Friday on the strength of the Xbox announcement.

'Purely complementary' to the PC

Gates downplayed any suggestion that the personal computer business was levelling off.

He said the Xbox was a device that would sit in the living room, connected to the family television set.

"It is purely complementary to the PC," he said.

On Microsoft's relationship with chipmaker Intel, Gates described Intel as a "key partner" for the Tablet PC project.

The Tablet is a notebook computer that resembles a laptop screen and uses a stylus as the primary input device. It is not due for release until next year, but has already excited Intel and arch-rival Transmeta in the race to be primary chip suppliers.

Gates called Tablet "a huge advance that will expand how people use their PCs".



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