Microsoft founder and Chairman Bill Gates believes <A HREF="http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/30/technology/microsoft_cellphones/index.htm">cell phones are a better way than laptops</A> to bring computing to the masses in developing nations, according to a published report. The New York Times reports that Craig Mundie, the No. 1 software provider's vice president and chief technology officer, told the paper that both he and Gates believe that turning a specially configured cell phone into a computer by connecting it to a TV and a keyboard is the best way to spread the power of computing. "Everyone is going to have a cell phone," Mundie told the paper, noting that in places where televisions are already common, a phone could be turned into a computer with a cheap adaptor and keyboard. Microsoft has not said how much those products would cost. The proposal is an answer to a plan by Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, who in November unveiled his prototype for a $100 laptop computer that could help bring computers to hundreds of millions of mostly-poor students worldwide. The Times reports that Negroponte has failed to reach an agreement with Microsoft on including its Windows software in the laptop. That failure prompted Negroponte to use free open-source software in his laptop instead of Windows, and spurred Microsoft executives to discuss an alternative.