Bill Gates on iPad: "It's a Nice Reader, But..."

BNET's Brent Schlender recently spoke with Microsoft founder Bill Gates about Apple's new iPad tablet device in order to get a feel for the thoughts of the man behind Apple's longtime rival and whose company introduced the "Tablet PC" concept nearly a decade ago. According to Schlender, Gates remains relatively unimpressed with the iPad, especially compared to his feelings about the iPhone when it was first introduced in 2007.

"You know, I'm a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard - in other words a netbook - will be the mainstream on that," he said. "So, it's not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, 'Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough.' It's a nice reader, but there's nothing on the iPad I look at and say, 'Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.'"

While the iPad has certainly seen criticism that some may see as warranted, it is unclear whether Gates truly sees the device as merely a "reader" while ignoring its Internet and media capabilities as well as the App Store offerings available to it. Alternatively, he may view the reader capability of the iPad as its most important and well-done offering, or even simply have been searching for a generic term for the device while not wishing to place it in the same category as traditional tablet computers.