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Redmond, Washington April 1, 2008 (Wrediculus News Service)
Bill Gates announced today, that in spite of its popularity, Microsoft (MSFT) would be abandoning PowerPoint. Originally developed by a former Berkeley PhD student, Bob Gaskins and software developer, Dennis Austin at Forethought Software - PowerPoint was launched for the Mac in 1987. Forethought was purchased by Microsoft later that year and PowerPoint was released for Windows in 1990.
Gates made the announcement at a symposium put on in Seattle by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Eyeballs. Commenting at P.E.T.E yesterday, Gates stated,
"Listen this has nothing to do with Apple's purportedly superior presentation program, Keynote. I just feel that after almost twenty years, PowerPoint has served it's purpose. If you remember, I didn't even use it for my presentation at CES in January. But, quite frankly, that isn't the real reason we've canned the product.
As you may remember, Time Magazine voted Bono, my wife and me, Persons of the Year a few years back. It's because of our efforts to make the world a better place.
Dispensing with PowerPoint is a part of that initiative. We realize that no matter how wonderful the software is, it's being used in ways that are hurting people."
Gates said that one of the main complaints he'd heard about the presentation software was its use in churches. He stated that there are over 300,000 churches in America and it would seem a vast percentage were using PowerPoint. And using it badly.
"From cluttered screens to using every font in their system, churches are making a mockery of the power of this program. Things fly in, things zip out. It's making congregants sick. And Microsoft has had enough litigation issues without having to worry about a class-action lawsuit from the millions of pew sitters in America."
This reporter asked Mr. Gates why he hadn't recommended the writings of Garr Reynolds to the church PowerPoint audience. Gates said,
"Listen, I've really appreciated Garr's comments about my own PowerPoint presentations. I've taken them to heart. And I am making my way through Garr's new book. Unfortunately, Ballmer has been less willing to change.
But the problem is that Mr. Reynolds calls his website PresentationZen.com and churches really aren't into the whole Zen thing."
Gates stated that Microsoft (MSFT) would continue to support PowerPoint for Windows XP and earlier but that all development for Vista was being curtailed. He also said that all PowerPoint packages in the retail channel would have labels added to them stating "Not Recommended for Church Use."
Gates also told the gathered reporters that he was attempting to talk to Steve Jobs about Keynote as he feared churches would just move to the Apple platform. "As yet, I've not heard back from Steve."
Originally published on Feb 14th, 2006. I thought it would be appropriate for today.