Microsoft Bill Gates said he supports chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, as rival Apple Inc. overtook Microsoft last month to become the technology company with the highest market capitalization.

“I happen to like the things that Steve’s doing,” Gates said when asked if he had confidence in Ballmer, according to the transcript of an interview for broadcast later on Sunday on ABC’s This Week programme. “It’s not my full-time work, but as a board member, you know, I see a lot of great things going on.”

Apple became the most valuable technology firm in the world on 26 May. Cupertino, California-based Apple’s market capitalization was $230.70 billion (Rs10.8 trillion) as of 11 June; Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft’s was $224.90 billion.

Asked why Apple overtook Microsoft, Gates said: “Oh, Microsoft is doing a lot of great stuff,” and that the opportunities in the software industry are pretty phenomenal.

“The way that people think about TV, the way they think about reading, about learning, software is going to revolutionize that,” said Gates.

Asked about the economy Gates said the President can’t just pull the levers and make the economy take off. He said reducing the US budget deficit will be difficult. “It’s a tricky thing, because almost everybody agrees we need to keep spending up, you know, not take all country deficits to zero right away. But over time, you have to move in that direction,” he said.

Gates also repeated his call for the US government to increase spending on clean-energy research and development. “Without such research, the problem we’ll run into is that we’ll have more crises like the oil spill and we’ll have the supply disruption. We’ll start to see more and more effects of the climate problem. The costs will go up because you’re looking for oil in harder and harder places,“ Gates said

Courtesy Livemint(Joshua Zumbrun) June14