E Books' Brass Band

As Microsoft's Dick Brass sees it, print on paper will go the way of the quill pen

Vice-President Al Gore traveled to Tacoma, Wash., a few years ago to solicit advice on issuing tax credits for software exports. It's a fairly esoteric topic, but one that sparks passion among the digerati. No one at that exclusive gathering was more passionate than Dick Brass. A senior vice-president at Oracle Corp. at the time, Brass's voice boomed and his arms flailed as he lectured the Veep on the importance of aiding America's software industry. On the way out of the meeting, Brass asked his longtime friend, Microsoft Corp. research chief Nathan P. Myhrvold, whether he was a bit too pushy. Myhrvold recalls telling him: "If you had been any more pushy, either I or the Secret Service would have jumped on the Vice-President" to shield him.

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