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Gates bullish on e-commerce

Avoiding comment on the antitrust suit, Bill Gates shills his new book and predicts big things for online commerce.

    New York--Bill Gates said today he is bullish on e-commerce, particularly business-to business deals.

    Speaking at Barnes & Noble to promote his new book, Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System, the Microsoft chief executive did not comment on his company's continuing antitrust battle with the government. Instead, he spoke about e-commerce and about the exploding value of Internet stocks.

    "In some cases, [shopping is] more about social behavior," he said. "People love coming to book store, or clothing store." Shoppers even look for a personal relationship with an agent when its comes to buying life insurance, he said.

    Business-to-business e-commerce is ideal since it has less to do with personal idiosyncrasies, Gates said. "In the next two years I expect the majority of business to business [transactions] to shift to [the Internet]," Gates said.

    Another e-commerce market already showing great strength is online trading, Gates said. "[Online trading] numbers are as high as 30 to 35 percent of individual stock trading is going on the Internet," he added. > Although he declined to comment when e-commerce is likely to explode into the mainstream, the Microsoft boss said that the percentage of retail transactions will "go up broadly."

    Gates also said that he deals with the gyrations of the stock market by paying little attention to daily fluctuations, adding that he looks at the prices only about once a month.