Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, who became one of the richest people in the world thanks to the success of the personal computer (PC), predicted this week that the PC would soon be surpassed by consumer-oriented devices that connect to the Internet.

"There's no doubt some time in the next three to 10 years we'll cross over that threshold," Gates said.

Gates says that Internet-enabled digital cameras, palmtop devices, and Internet-ready TV sets would eventually replace PC use for home users, which represent the largest single market for computing devices. As such, Internet scalability will need to be enhanced quickly. He used HotMail as an example of this trend, a Microsoft-owned free email service that adds over 100,000 new users a day, according to Gates