Image: Bill Gates, Lee Myung-bak
Jung Yeon-je  /  AP
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, left, discussed information technology for vehicles and games and the future of the Internet with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
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updated 5/6/2008 1:29:14 PM ET 2008-05-06T17:29:14

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said there will be a vast shift in Internet technology over the next decade as he met Tuesday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

"We're approaching the second decade of (the) digital age," Gates told Lee at the start of their meeting at the presidential Blue House, according to a media pool report. Press access at Lee's residence was limited.

"The Internet has been operating now for 10 years," said Gates, who mentioned he was making his first trip to South Korea since 2001. "The second 10 years will be very different."

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The Blue House said in a statement that Microsoft, the South Korean government and South Korean companies will invest a total of $313 million in information technology for vehicles, games and education.

Earlier, Microsoft Corp. and automakers Hyundai Motor Inc. and Kia Motors Corp. announced a deal whereby the South Korean companies will use Microsoft's in-car software, which allows people to control personal music players and telephones with voice commands.

The companies also said they planned to set up an automobile IT innovation center. Hyundai and its affiliate Kia together form the world's sixth-largest automotive group.

"We're doing some very interesting work on automobile software," Gates said after having dinner with Lee. "That's a really wide open area where some very exiting things will come out of."

Lee, a conservative former construction CEO, swept into office in February with a vow to boost economic growth through deregulation and increased foreign investment. On Tuesday, he named Gates to his global advisory committee.

Besides meeting the president, Gates later delivered a speech at an event sponsored by South Korean television network SBS, where he presented his ideas on the future of software and how humans will interact with it over the next decade.

"We can expect that the variety and quality of software will actually accelerate in the years ahead," the Microsoft co-founder said.

"We are finally getting a level of hardware and software" whereby "natural interaction has become practical," Gates said, citing speech commands and tablet computers as examples.

"The whole environment will be very, very different," he said of the future.

Microsoft also said Tuesday that it will invest $280 million to build a research and development center in China's capital, Beijing, and will double the number of its full-time R&D staff in China to 3,000 in three-to-five years.

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