Gates, Jobs and all things digital

The world of traditional media is in a growing state of disquiet about doing business in the digital world, the most recent example of which is TIME CEO Ann Moore telling All Things Digital (Wall Street Journal’s blog site) that the famous magazine is looking at ways of integrating news operations for online success.

But the interview that was most hyped was the one involving the big two in the industry — Bill Gates and Steve Jobs again hosted by WSJ’s Walt Mossberg and his colleague Kara Swisher.

For us journos, the takeaway was the limited forecasting by Jobs about how post-PC devices will do more in the future. With the way Apple is connecting its devices (iPod, Apple TV and soon, the iPhone), we must perhaps look forward to pint size devices talking to everything else in the house – right up to a giant hi-def screen.

The challenge in this kind of hook-up for the media person is to produce content that can be used across devices. The phone may be good enough to download or shoot something impulsively for viewing at home leisurely on a giant LCD or plasma screen but what are the other challenges?

What about the world wide web? There is a challenge to fit website content to various screen resolutions and bandwidth channels even now and to design the sites optimally for different devices.

No one has a good idea of what is to come. Gates and Jobs themselves gave out little when they spoke about the next five years.

Gates takes on the proponents of the nimble network PC vis-a-vis fully loaded (Windows) PC, pointing out that doomsday deadlines for his company had gone by with nothing happening to Microsoft. Of course, no is in doubt that Redmond is losing business thanks to online applications such as Google‘s word processor and spreadsheet, Thinkfree, Zoho and the like.

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