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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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