Bill Gate's digital truth

Microsoft is investing heavily in creating and developing advertising platforms in an effort to transform the way people work and live, says MSN's corporate VP and chief media officer Joanne Bradford as she introduced chairman Bill Gates at Microsoft's 8th annual Strategic Account Summit 2007 (SAS).

Gates spoke to delegates on ‘innovating in the age of engagement', saying that "what we're achieving today is very small compared to in the next 10 years".

He talked about the availability of digital device beyond the PC such as the iPod, reading devices and so on, and he believes in the near future the ability of such devices to connect to each other seamlessly will be taken for granted.

"People are realising the benefits of digitalisation," Gates says. "It affects all parts of the economy, from designing products to talking to partners - not just in media and advertising - technology is changing all that."

To him, the state of advertising today is all about customer driven interaction, which he illustrated in a diagram involving the words Attract, Engage and Excite, and which the three are linked in a circle.

"Flexibility in the online environment now is more user driven. Now more than ever, we take friends' opinions on what's hot and what's not into consideration," he says.

He also asserted that the print medium is facing some uncertainties in that newspaper subscriptions have been dropping even though previously, revenues did not as increased dollars per user compensated for the subscriber decline. However, more people now get their news through a mix of TV and online. He adds that as devices like PCs drop in size, people will slowly reduce the reading of print material.

Gates then introduced Ed Graczyk, director, marketing and communications, Microsoft TV Division, who talked about IPTV offers a personalised, interactive TV experience with the added social connectivity component.

Above all the known benefits of IPTV, Graczyk says the most important is its measurability so advertising is accountable, which is a point Gates and all the other speakers at SAS kept banging home.

"It's exciting that we all get to shape this and it'll make a big difference to customers," Gates says.

More from SAS is in the pipeline.