Of course if BNET asks Bill Gates about rival Steve Jobs' latest creation, the iPad, he'll have to dismiss it in public -- to do otherwise wouldn't be in service of Microsoft. What's more telling is his confession about the iPhone (infamously banned at his house) some three years later:

“You know, I’m a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard - in other words a netbook - will be the mainstream on that,” he said. “So, it’s not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, ‘Oh my God, Microsoft didn’t aim high enough.’ It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.’”

On the heels of those emails we linked to yesterday, detailing his and Jim Allchin's concerns that Apple had caught Microsoft "flat footed" and "smoked" them, it also brings context to the iPad dismissal, especially considering the eerily similar dismissal of the iPod to BusinessWeek many years ago, as pointed out by Digital Daily:

“There’s nothing that the iPod does that I say, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t think we can do that.’”

And we all know how that turned out.

As to BNET, the introduction to Gates' interview reads as rather one-sided and Apple/iPad-hostile:

With the sudden ridicule of Steve Jobs’ new do-everything media player, Apple has abruptly become a ripe target for those who would like to take it down a notch.

Ridicule? While some haven't been thrilled with the iPad, much as they weren't with the iPod when it was announced, almost no one has used it yet, and many have been downright effusive about it. Really, wasn't the Gates quote link-baity enough?