Bill Gates talks robots, philanthropy and Jobs in Reddit Q&A

And Tim Cook goes to Washington

Bill Gates

Microsoft chairman and super philanthropist Bill Gates took to Reddit Monday to answer user-submitted questions in an "Ask me anything" (AMA) ranging from the cheap things that give him pleasure, to vaccines, to, of course, tech.

The whole post is worth a read, as it shows a capricious Gates take on all sorts of inquiries in, as many Redditors noted, a prompt fashion.

The one never-made-it-to-market Microsoft product Gates wishes was given the chance? WinFS, a data storage and management system intended to debut with Windows.

" I always wanted to see what happened to that," a Redditor wrote in response.

Bill bits

Gates also revealed he picked up a Surface Pro a week ago - "it is very nice" - while he used an 80-inch Windows 8 touch whiteboard to answer Reddit's questions.

Though he doesn't jump over chairs for ski training any more, he still writes some code and gets books (not software) for Christmas.

When asked about his relationship with Steve Jobs, Gates was candid.

"He and I respected each other," he wrote. "Our biggest joint project was the Mac where Microsoft had more people on the project than Apple did as we wrote a lot of applications. I saw Steve regularly over the years including spending an afternoon with him a few months before he tragically passed away[.]"

Bing, he said, is "the better product at this point," and the work done to make it better "has been amazing."

As for future tech that will impact consumers as much as the "home computer", Gates had this to say:

"Robots, pervasive screens, speech interaction will all change the way we look at 'computers'. Once seeing, hearing, and reading (including handwriting) work very well you will interact in new ways[.]"

Bill Gates
Gates' good humour about this picture, among other things, went over well with redditors

Meanwhile, in Apple land

A few hours after Gates wrapped his Reddit convo by jokingly asking for help in deleting a famous (or infamous) photo of himself (see above, sorry Bill), news arrived that Apple CEO Tim Cook will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama during President Obama's State of the Union address tomorrow.

He'll have primo box seats, a source for CNN Money is reporting, and will likely get some camera time if the president touches on technology.

The speech will top off a day that starts with Cook addressing the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. Apple plans to stream his talk, scheduled to begin soon after the conference gets off the ground at 7:15 a.m. PST.

CNN Money anticipated Cook fielding some difficult questions from the investor crowd in SF, especially after record-breaking yet Wall Street-disappointing earnings last quarter. There's word he might directly address the investor who's called for Apple to unleash some of its $137 billion (UK£87.5 million, AU$133 billion) cash holdings to shareholders.

Should make for a juicy listen, though it won't have the same accessibility as an AMA.