The amount of code on top of the development kit we have isn't a ton of code. It's the kind of thing that over the course of a week or so you could write. If somebody says, "No, let's change this—add this," another week, they can have that done. So, whether it's in the office, where you're sharing data together, whether it's in the home, where you're organizing photos, or at retail, where the early versions, which are fairly expensive—they want this kind of rugged thing. It's been a great response. That's software that came out of Microsoft Research. Like a lot of our great products, it's the transfer from the research side into the software that has allowed us to do neat things.
So, my final question is: Given that this is your last keynote address at CES and your final year overseeing day-to-day operations of Microsoft, what do you see as your role in shepherding new technologies going forward?
Well, my work at the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation that will become my full-time focus is based on optimism that, whether it's software or biology, the advances can be shaped in a way to help the poorest two billion people on the planet—whether that's a breakthrough for malaria, a breakthrough for a high-quality health care system, a breakthrough for the educational opportunities that those poor people are not able to get today. And so, it represents kinda optimism and enjoying meeting with scientists and getting them organized and recognizing the things that go on that hopefully I've learned a lot about during my time at Microsoft.
In my part-time role at Microsoft, I'll still meet with Microsoft Research and see what they're doing, because that's always been the most fun part of my job. I'll have a few projects, maybe related to search and Office and natural interface that I spend a little bit of time on, but the overall software agenda, Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie are obviously stepping up to manage that, and that's where I'll get the time for the new Foundation work. But, my time will be more looking at what opportunities science is bringing us than less, and that's a neat thing.
So, you're going to become like a scout?
Yeah, for the Foundation. Because if you see what the problems are—we did things like grand challenges where we enunciated, "Okay, if you could give us cold chain for vaccines inexpensively, that would save a huge number of lives here"—and articulating, so that the inventors don't just have the market signals [of what the rich world wants], but also the recognition and the awareness of what the nonrich world wants. There's some creativity just to be applied there.
The Internet gives us a tool to do some of those things. The desire of companies to be more socially minded gives us a tool, so that if we reach out to them in a concrete way—whether it's pharma companies or technology companies—I think they'll respond well to that. And when I go into those companies, I can at least bring some corporate experience and some encouragement along, hopefully, with a concrete plan of where they should do more.