Gates: Google Does Not Understand Business Needs

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says Google's tools are no threat to SharePoint, and that Google Talk is hardly changing the world.

SEATTLE-Google really does not understand the special needs of businesses, as its model is based around consumer search, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates told attendees at the 2008 SharePoint conference here on March 3.

Answering a question about Google's competitive threat to SharePoint, Gates said that, "Its [Google's] productivity tools do not have the features and responsiveness of ours. In terms of Google tools, the day they announced them was their best day, really. Remember Google Talk? I can hardly remember its name? It was going to change the world," Gates said to much laughter and applause.

In contrast, SharePoint was about end-users and the ability to get things done, he said.

Read more here about how a Google product manager shredded Sharepoint.

In response to a question about Microsoft's possible acquisition of Yahoo and the impact that could have on SharePoint going forward, Gates said such a deal would have little effect on SharePoint, but did reflect how serious Microsoft was about consumer search.

"The Yahoo deal shows our bullishness about search, but it's hard to speculate about whether the deal will get done or not," he said.

Asked who he would vote for in the upcoming presidential election, Gates was evasive in his answer, noting that one of the things he was most interested in, especially with regard to his foundation, was global health.

Gates said that all the current contenders for president had made some big promises and strong commitments to this, "but I'm not making any particular public comment beyond this."

Gates was also asked about universal data center access and whether the data model would change in SharePoint as well as what the plan is with regard to changing the data store in Exchange.

The next version of SharePoint would take a big step toward having list-type features, he said, adding that he wanted list symantics to be in the data center itself.

While SharePoint was built on SQL, there was a layer of logic above that which Microsoft was working on bringing down into the SharePoint product, Gates said.

While Exchange has its own database environment and there are a lot of good reasons why SQL has its own datastore, Outlook and Exchange would be on the SQL database store going forward. "We are taking those steps and we are talking a lot about how important storage unification is," Gates said.

Asked about going relational with the database and allowing things like nested tables, Gates said lists were already important today and the SQL roadmap would involve picking up the work that Microsoft has done on lists.