1. "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
2. "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."
3. "One thing we have got to change in our strategy - allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other peoples browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company. We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities."
4. "The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competitors, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose."
5. "If you just want to say, "Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along," that's fine. If you're interested, [Vista development chief] Jim Allchin will be glad to educate you feature by feature what the truth is. … Let's be realistic, who came up with "File/Edit/View/Help"? Do you want to go back to the original Mac and think about where those interface concepts came from?"
6. "When you lose a customer, it can be tempting to tell each other, "That customer's not very sharp. They just made the wrong decision"."
7. "To a certain extent, a little blindness is necessary when you undertake a risk."
8. "Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It's a good thing we have museums to document that."
9. "Sometimes, I think my most important job as a CEO is to listen for bad news. If you don't act on it, your people will eventually stop bringing bad news to your attention and that is the beginning of the end."
10. "The worst programs are the ones where the programmers doing the original work don't lay a solid foundation, and then they're not involved in the program in the future."
11. "The most important 'speed' issue is often not technical but cultural. It's convincing everyone that the company's survival depends on everyone moving as fast as possible."
12. "To get a big company moving fast, especially on a many-headed opportunity like the Internet, you have to have hundreds of people participating and coming up with ideas."
13. "How fast a company can respond in an emergency is a measure of its corporate reflexes."
14. "We don't have the user centricity. Until we understand context, which is way beyond presence — presence is the most trivial notion, just am I on this device or not; it doesn't say am I meeting with something, am I focused on writing something."
15. "Like a human being, a company has to have an internal communication mechanism, a "nervous system", to coordinate its actions."
16. "Strategically, a major function of the CEO is to look for bad news and encourage the organization to respond to it. Employees must be encouraged to share bad news as much as good news."
17. "Programs today get very fat; the enhancements tend to slow the programs down because people put in special checks. When they want to add some feature, they'll just stick in these checks without thinking how they might slow the thing down."
18. "Every company can choose whether to lead or follow the emerging digital trends."
19. "If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act."
20. "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.… The solution to this is patent exchanges with large companies and patenting as much as we can."
21. "One of the wonderful things about the information highway is that virtual equity is far easier to achieve than real-world equity... We are all created equal in the virtual world and we can use this equality to help address some of the sociological problems that society has yet to solve in the physical world,"
22. "The moral systems of religion, I think, are superimportant. We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I've been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that's kind of a religious belief. I mean, it's at least a moral belief."
23. "Sometimes we do get taken by surprise. For example, when the Internet came along, we had it as a fifth or sixth priority. It wasn't like somebody told me about it and I said, "I don't know how to spell that." I said, "Yeah, I've got that on my list, so I'm okay." But there came a point when we realized it was happening faster and was a much deeper phenomenon than had been recognized in our strategy."
24. "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."
25. "A bad strategy will fail no matter how good your information is and lame execution will stymie a good strategy. If you do enough things poorly, you will go out of business."
26. "We've done some good work, but all of these products become obsolete so fast... It will be some finite number of years, and I don't know the number — before our doom comes."
27. "Leaders need to provide strategy and direction and to give employees tools that enable them to gather information and insight from around the world. Leaders shouldn't try to make every decision."
28. "DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created."
29. "Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren't so irritating."
30. "The leader needs to create an environment in which people can analyze the situation and develop a good response."
31. "Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner wasn't paid for. So yes."
32. "Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be."
33. "To create a new standard, it takes something that's not just a little bit different; it takes something that's really new and really captures people's imagination — and the Macintosh, of all the machines I've ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard."
34. "First we've got population. Now, the world today has 6.8 billion people. That's headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that (forecast) by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent, but there we see an increase of about 1.3 (per year)."
35. "The finest pieces of software are those where one individual has a complete sense of exactly how the program works. To have that, you have to really love the program and concentrate on keeping it simple, to an incredible degree."
36. "Any operating system without a browser is going to be fucking out of business. Should we improve our product, or go out of business?"
37. "The flatter the corporate hierarchy, the more likely it is that employees will communicate bad news and act upon it."
38. "The best way to prepare [to be a programmer] is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and fished out listings of their operating system."
39. "The people who resist change will be confronted by the growing number of people who see that better ways are available; thanks to technology."
40. "We don't have option of turning away from the future. No one gets to vote on whether technology is going to change our lives."
41. "This leads to the paradox, that because the disease is only in the poor countries, there is not much investment. For example, there is more money put into baldness drugs, than are put into malaria. Now, baldness, it is a terrible thing [audience laughter] and rich men are afflicted, so that is why that priority is set."
42. "If the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about reengineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity."
43. "In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don't know if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid."
44. "There's only one trick in software, and that is using a piece of software that's already been written."
45. "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 MPG."
46. "There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed. … I'm saying we don't do a new version to fix bugs. We don't. Not enough people would buy it. You can take a hundred people using Microsoft Word. Call them up and say "Would you buy a new version because of bugs?" You won't get a single person to say they'd buy a new version because of bugs. We'd never be able to sell a release on that basis."
47. "Before Paul and I started the company, we had been involved in some large-scale software projects that were real disasters. They just kept pouring people in, and nobody knew how they were going to stabilize the project. We swore to ourselves that we would do better."
48. "We would like every country to be self-sufficient so that both in terms of running a good primary health care system and funding a good primary health care system, it's all OK, and they just participate in regional bodies that have standby capacity to deal with these things. Africa, of all the places in the world, is the furthest behind on being able to do that. And through aid, health and health systems in Africa have improved very, very dramatically."
49. "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not."
50. "People often overestimate what will happen in the next two years and underestimate what will happen in ten."