Bill Gates was the main person behind Microsoft’s longtime strategy of selling Windows to a variety of computer makers, and refraining from making computers itself. But the Microsoft chairman is sounding fully on board with the company’s new Surface tablet computer.

In an interview with Microsoft’s Steve Clayton, made public today, Gates says he has been using a Microsoft Surface for Windows RT, the version of the device that goes on sale this Friday, and considers it an “unbelievably great” machine.

“I’ve been using it day and night, showing it to everybody I meet,” Gates says. “You can’t appreciate it without seeing it. … Just the beauty of the device. It is absolutely incredible.”

Of course, Gates isn’t unbiased on the topic, but it’s notable that he’s being so vocal.

What about the pivotal question of how Windows 8 will work for traditional PC users? Here’s what Gates had to say on that topic …

“As Steve Ballmer has said, this is an absolutely critical product. It takes Windows into the world of touch, low-power devices — really giving people the best of what you think of as a tablet-type experience, and the PC experience. It’s a great upgrade for normal Windows usage, but that idea of a store, the rich user interface, it’s a big step. It’s key to where personal computing is going, and we’re going to get software developers behind this like we have with every new version of Windows.”

Check out the full video above, and see Clayton’s post here.

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  • Jake

    “Unbelievably” is the key word here.

  • guest

    He also said iPad didn’t worry him and Steve Ballmer was doing a great job. So you have to consider the source. That said, it does look like a nice device. But too expensive and too immature an app ecosystem to be any real threat to iPad specifically or Android tablets more generally. MS might make the modest targets Ballmer has set however. But at that level it won’t make any money. So not exactly clear why it makes business sense.

  • guest

    Bill Gates can only be admired for his accomplishments in the past and the accumulation of wealth resulting from them. Just like Micheal Jordan. But that doesn’t mean he has a feel for what will be the next big thing in consumer electronics. Just like Michael Jordan.

  • TheOtherGuest

    If I had that much Microsoft stock I would say exactly the same. Actually I would shout it. And then some. Imagine how much of his wealth does poof when MSFT drops a few percent.

    • Orbitoid

      I’m guessing like any smart investor Bill Gates wouldn’t have such a huge percent of his investments tied up in any one company or investment. That would just be silly and considering that he has enough money to afford a good financial advisor I think it’s safe to say that Bill Gates’ fortune wouldn’t just disappear even if Microsoft went bankrupt tomorrow.

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