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Gates Sees a Window in Trio's New Studio : Entertainment: Head of Microsoft expects to discuss software applications with Spielberg et al.

October 20, 1994|From Reuters

PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday that he will probably meet with Steven Spielberg and other media moguls who are setting up a new Hollywood film studio to discuss how his software would fit into their vision.

In an interview, Gates denied speculation that he has already discussed cooperating with Spielberg, former Walt Disney Studios head Jeffrey Katzenberg and music mogul David Geffen. The three announced plans to form their own studio last week.

But Gates, the chairman of the world's largest software company, said he expects to discuss the application of Microsoft software to the trio's futuristic animation.

"We probably will meet with them in time. The idea of animated characters used in computer software, particularly CD-ROM software, as well as in movies--you know everybody sees potential there," Gates said during a stop on a European tour.

"And so if they are really going to go and do animated films, you can use software to make those very effectively and you can use the characters you create in the software. This is all fairly futuristic," he said.

The high-profile entertainment trio said last week that its as-yet-unnamed studio will produce movies, animated films and television shows. The three also plan a music unit and an interactive entertainment unit.

Gates said Spielberg used software from Microsoft's high-end animation unit, Softimage, to create the dinosaur animation in the hit film "Jurassic Park." Microsoft acquired Montreal-based Softimage Inc. this year, after it had worked on the film.

Microsoft has also been instrumental in developing software that would run interactive television programs on the so-called information superhighway.

The founder of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, which has cornered the computer software market with various applications of his Windows programs, said he saw Hollywood as a "very strategic set of customers."

"We want to work with all the studios, so we have to be a little careful. Who knows what they'll come to us and suggest," Gates said.

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