Future technology breakthroughs will increasingly come from Asia, Microsoft Corp. Chairman BillGates said Saturday, adding that research being done at the software giant’s regional development centers was among the best in the world.
Gates’ comments come at the end of a visit to China during which he announced several new ventures, including US$3 (Â€2.21) software packages for government-subsidized student computers.
In a speech to a regional economic forum in southern China, Gates said Americans were increasingly expecting Asia to produce major new leaps in computers and other technology, citing in part the region’s strong showing in engineering and the sciences.
”And so not only is Asia benefiting from the uses of new technology, Asia will increasingly be the source of advances in technology,” Gates told participants at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia, a gathering of business leaders and politicians modeled on the World Economic Forum held each winter in Davos, Switzerland.
Gates said Microsoft has been gratified by the results of its Asian research and development centers and was planning to expand campuses in Beijing and Shanghai.
”The results and the quality of the work is absolutely among the best in the world,” Gates said.
Gates repeated calls made earlier in his visit for greater investments in technology to improve health care and education, saying all students would soon be equipped with super powerful tablet computers no bigger than a piece of notebook paper.
The software maker plans to sell a Student Innovation Suite, which includes Windows XP Starter Edition and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, for US$3 (Â€2.21) each to governments that subsidize a certain percentage of the cost of PCs for primary and secondary students for use at home and at school, starting in the second half of the year.
In a bizarre protest following a speech Gates gave at a Chinese elite Peking University, a man walked on stage and unveiled a banner with ”free software, open source” written on it.
Backers of open source computer programming say that users should be allowed to view and edit software codes, including Microsoft’s. Gates, who is massively popular on Chinese campuses, appeared startled by the intrusion, but no one was hurt and the man was later detained for questioning.