Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ‘substantially’ increased his time at Microsoft earlier this year to assist new CEO Satya Nadella, but since then it’s not been clear exactly what the former chairman has been working on. While Gates has been busy creating an elaborate Ice Bucket Challenge video recently, it appears he’s also working closely on improving Microsoft Office. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Gates notes that Microsoft’s priority should be making Office "dramatically better," and that this is high on the list of things Microsoft needs to do. "That's the kind of thing that I'm trying to make sure they move fast on," explains Gates.
Gates doesn’t reveal exactly how Office can change, but likely improvements include a touch optimized version of the productivity suite for Windows. Microsoft has teased Office touch for Windows, but the company is still testing it before its expected debut next year. Microsoft is also developing a new version of Office for Mac, and the company has been investing heavily in OneNote and its new Sway app.
Gates praises Apple Pay
Elsewhere in the interview, Gates discusses Apple Pay, noting that Microsoft should do as well or better at a similar implementation. Although Apple Pay is built on NFC industry standards, Gates feels "Apple will help make sure it gets to critical mass for all of the devices." Gates isn’t working on a rival Apple Pay system at Microsoft though, as he admits his "time on this area is all foundation focused" despite Microsoft having a "really good vision in this." Gates is also questioned about whether he might appear courtside at former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Clippers team, but Gates doesn’t commit either way. "I'm not a guy who spends a ton of time watching sports games, but my friends own teams, and I enjoy spending time with them, so at some point, probably."