Weblog
Site map
Contact us
Search
 
Latest
Press Releases

 

Gates, Chambers, Schmidt, Zennström Share Davos Podium
Annual Meeting panellists discuss high-tech now and tomorrow

27 January 2006 - Davos, Switzerland

John T. Chambers, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cisco Systems Inc., USA; William H. Gates III, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation, USA; Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA; and Niklas Zennström, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Skype Technologies, United Kingdom, came together in a panel at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting today to discuss the nature of technology and what the future might look like.

Zennström sees ubiquity as the trend in connectivity. “Small companies anywhere will be able to make a big impact,” he predicted. There’s no need to be totally tech savvy and “no need to even care about how Cisco servers work” in creating such a business. His own business has 75 million users. But in a business where underlying costs are virtually nothing, this can be an interesting business model. As bandwidth becomes cheaper, the Cisco boss said, “Business customers and consumers are talking about business model enablement more than technology per se”.

Gates agreed that the fundamental objective is to get more users. “Here is where terminology matters.” Users can become paying customers. Schmidt seconded this idea, and refined Gates’s observation: “Google set out to solve the search problem and discovered ads,” Schmidt noted. “We have the mission of organizing all the world’s information – all of it,” he declared. But understandable inhibitions remain, and ease of use challenges. Both require solutions.

Zennström said the purchase of his company Skype by eBay has meant an expansion of the “self-distributed peer-to-peer model” to integration within the eBay business model. eBay clients may be separated by some distance, but now the online sales and auction house can provide users “with an enhanced experience” combining video and voice.

Gates mused that with ubiquitous connectivity “you can eventually even get rid of telephone numbers.” But he cautioned it will be quite some time before voice recognition comes of age. “Language is so ambiguous,” he pointed out.

The cross-border nature of Internet business and increasing competition mean that privacy becomes extremely important, Zennström observed. Schmidt agreed, but noted that in any case all companies fall under local law.

Notes to Editors:
· Everything about the Annual Meeting 2006 can be found here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting
· Here are the key Participants: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/participants
· In depth Interviews with key business participants are here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/indepth
· The entire Programme can be downloaded here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/programme
· Follow the discussions and read the Session summaries here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/summaries2006
· Watch the key debates live in our Webcasts at: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/webcasts
· Download key debates as Podcasts or Audio Blogs at: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/podcasts
· Leave your comments in our Weblog at: www.forumblog.org
· Subscribe to or download Press Releases here: www.weforum.org/pressreleases
· Download print-quality high resolution Photographs of the Annual Meeting free of charge here: www.swiss-image.ch/forum (login: world; password: forum)

__________________________________________



The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (www.weforum.org)




For more information, please contact:

Communications and Public Affairs
World Economic Forum
Tel.: +41 (0) 22 869 1212
Fax: +41 (0) 22 869 1394
E-mail: public.affairs@weforum.org




 




Subscribe to Press Releases
Subscribe to receive our press release notifications.

Unsubscribe to Press Releases
Unsubscribe from our press release notifications.



Copyright © 2003 World Economic Forum
Last updated: 28 January 2006
Terms of Use
Privacy Statement
About this site