In a wider interview with the New York Times about his planned departure from Microsoft next year, Bill Gates has lashed out at the idea of a Google phone.

During the interview Gates said: "How many products, of all the Google products that have been introduced, how many of them are profit-making products?"

"They’ve introduced about 30 different products; they have one profit-making product. So, you’re now making a prediction without ever seeing the software that they’re going to have the world’s best phone and it’s going to be free?"

He disagreed that Google could become a competitor of Microsoft for the smartphone software market.

"The phone is becoming way more software intensive", he said. "And to be able to say that there’s some challenge for us in the phone market when its becoming software intensive, I don’t see that."

Speculation has been growing for some time now that Google is planning to move into the phone market.