Gates spoke in response to a law firm CIO's complaint that "there is very little competition in corporate IT, unlike in consumer IT". Microsoft is the only IT firm whose terms and conditions are rigid, he said.
"Show me your terms and conditions with IBM", said Gates. "We will match them".
The Microsoft chief was speaking at an IoD "World Leader Lunch" event, during which he demonstrated a hosted software Customer Relationship Management product.
His theme was that the pace of technology change will be faster in the next 10 years than since 1998, and that "more and more activities will move to the internet".
Asked if what he would do if he were dropping out of Harvard today, as he did in 1976, to form a company, he said, "possibly something to do with biology or energy, but software is still the coolest thing".