Gates predicts demise of keyboard and mouse

In a keynote address in Las Vegas at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corp predicted the demise of the computer keyboard and mouse, with touch, vision and speech interfaces becoming increasingly important.(BBC News, 7 January 2007)

Gates said: 'We're adding the ability to touch and directly manipulate, we're adding vision so the computer can see what you're doing, we're adding the pen, we're adding speech'. (BBC News, 7 January 2007)

In the past, Gates has used the annual show to unveil new products, but his visionary predictions have not always led to commercial success, as in the case of the touch-screen tablet computer. Looking into the future, he said users would be able to roam in 3-D virtual worlds when they shopped or interacted online with friends . Devices would connect seamlessly so that data was transferred automatically from computer to mobile phone. He presented 'Microsoft Surface', a new device that embeds a computer in a table top. He produced a design by moving his fingers over the counter and showed how by placing his mobile phone on the surface, the counter-top computer recognised the phone and wirelessly downloaded the design via the phone to the web. (The Times, 8 January 2007)

Look at the Times 100 case study for Hutchison Whampoa, the company that owns 3, which has led the growth of the global 3G market. It provides the most comprehensive network for 3G communications. Like Microsoft, it has invested heavily in new technology. To maintain their position as market leaders, such companies must continually look towards new product development and innovation. However, they must also manage the higher risks of that position.


The Times Online – Gates says goodbye to your mouse, 8th January 2008

BBC News – Gates hails age of digital senses, 7th January 2008

The Times 100 Case Study – 3G, Market Leadership in the 3G market

Potential Questions:

  • Explain the usefulness of the Boston Matrix to a company trying to maintain a good balanced product portfolio.
  • What steps should a business take to minimize risk before launching a new product?