Gates Urges CEOs to Prepare for Internet’s “Third Phase”

REDMOND, Wash., May 24, 2000 — In a keynote address to more than 160 of the world’s top business leaders at Microsoft’s fourth annual CEO Summit, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates shared his belief that successful companies in the coming years will use the Internet to renew their customer commitment, strengthen ties with partners, and use the power of leading-edge Internet services to enable seamless interaction both within their organizations and throughout their business models.

In his address, Gates described the evolution of the Internet from a content-driven, one-way portal to a two-way tool that businesses use to provide personal service to customers, streamline business-to-business transactions and empower their own employees.

“We’re experiencing a transition from an ‘offline’ economy to a real-time digital online economy,” he said. “Part of the goal here is to help businesses take all the transactions they do today and get them into digital form.”

At Microsoft’s annual CEO Summit, business leaders from around the world gather to explore information technology issues, expand their understanding of technology’s impact on business, and explore new opportunities and challenges for the coming years.

“Microsoft looks forward to this event each year, and once again we’re delighted to have such diverse and talented leaders present,” Gates said. “Through the CEO Summit, we all gain the opportunity to learn from and interact with some of the best minds in business, exploring the changes and challenges ahead in the next phase of the Internet.”