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Gates: No media mergers for Microsoft

Bill Gates tells world business leaders that Microsoft will refrain from the trend of media mergers and stick to creating software.

Bill Gates told world business leaders today that Microsoft will refrain from the trend of media mergers and stick to creating software.

Steve Case, chief executive of America Online, said his company's blockbuster merger with Time Warner would enable them to use new technologies to create "compelling" consumer services they would have been unable to develop as single companies.

Gates and Case spoke at a panel discussion as the six-day World Economic Forum shifted its focus to the future of the Internet and continued with debates on ways to narrow the gap between rich and poor nations.

Case said AOL and Time Warner want to continue building bridges to make telephones, televisions and computers work better together.

"The next step is trying to think through from a consumer standpoint what is the best way to use these new devices to take advantage of new networks," Case said. Then the company can build services that "really can improve people's lives."

Gates congratulated Case on the merger announced earlier this month but said Microsoft isn't planning any media takeovers of its own.

"The strategy that my company is pursuing has really been the same for the last 25 years," Gates said. "It would be fun to own a movie studio, but I don't have any expertise, so we're going to stay away from that.

"Instead, I think there's room for a company whose main goal is to create software and allow that software to be a very empowering tool," he said.

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