The founder and chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates recently gave a very interesting keynote speech at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013, talking about all things technology, from software to wearable computing.

In the Q&A session, he was asked about patents and their influence on technology.

Talking about the role that free software plays in the development of various technologies, the charismatic icon explained that he was grateful for the existence of free and open source software:

“Thank God for commercial software. It actually funds salaries, gives people jobs. And thank God for free software, it lets people get things out there, you can play around, build on. The two work very well in an ecosystem.”

The full keynote is a pretty interesting watch, and Gates shared some of his experiences in dealing with large companies and their respective financial interests. You can give it a watch below:

Gates also touched on the rumors that Microsoft is currently testing a smartwatch that is said to feature a transparent aluminium case. The device is reportedly powered by Windows 8. And as far as Microsoft’s founder is concerned, wearable computing is the next step for the whole industry.

He, nevertheless, admits that seeing such devices in schools is not the brightest of notions. Gates joked when asked if wearable devices could arrive in schools at some point in the future:

“Hmm, it will help you cheat I guess.

The word ‘wearable’…glasses that project onto eyes…things that monitor whether you are getting nervous during a test. I think wearable is a very cool thing, but I don’t really couple it that much to education.”

The latest reports suggest that Microsoft’s very own smartwatch has reached prototype phase, and is on track to be released as early as 2014. Redmond has, quite obviously, taken the silent route, but more information on this little gizmo should float up soon.

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  • Andy Heaps

    Interesting insights as always, I don’t couple smartwatches with great education either!

    • Fahad Ali

      True, true. 🙂 Never a dull moment with Bill Gates, that’s for sure!