Gates vs. Jobs headlines D5 conference

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Apple CEO Steve Jobs to lock horns on the future of digital technology

Boxing fans had Ali vs. Frasier. Wrestling fans had "Hulk" Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. And now tech enthusiasts will have a chance to witness Gates vs. Jobs next week at the fifth annual D: All Things Digital conference, or D5.

Of course, the duo won't be engaging in fisticuffs (most likely), and any steel chairs will be used for sitting on, not whacking one another with (probably), but it's safe to predict verbal sparring and jabs (and maybe a low blow or two?) as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Apple CEO Steve Jobs share the stage and go mano a mano this Wednesday for "an unrehearsed, unscripted ... conversation" about the history and future of the digital revolution.

Rhonda Ascierto over at Computer Business Review has some entertaining predictions as to what the two tech titans will talk about and the predictions they'll make. She also makes this amusing observation:

"The pair likely will appear as somewhat of an unintentional spoof of Apple's TV campaign, which has a hip-looking slim guy representing a Mac and a tubby, dorky-looking man in a suit representing a PC."

"Jobs, no doubt, will don his trademark black mockneck, blue jeans and trainers, while Gates will sport a slightly crumpled business shirt, khakis and disheveled helicopter hair."

Other speakers will include Cisco CEO John Chambers, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Palm founder Jeff Hawkins.

The D: All Things Digital conference, organized by The Wall Street Journal, takes places in Carlsbad, Calif. Alas, if you were keen on attending, it's all sold out, according to the event Web site, though there is a waiting list.