Microsoft Unveils Vision for Next Generation Internet

REDMOND, Wash., June 22, 2000 — Signaling a new era of personal empowerment and business opportunity for consumers, businesses and software developers, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the vision and road map for its next generation of software and services, the Microsoft® .NET platform. Capitalizing on the explosion of Internet-based computing and communications, Microsoft .NET (pronounced
) will provide easier, more personalized and more productive Internet experiences by harnessing constellations of smart devices and Web sites with advanced software through Internet protocols and formats.

This new family of Microsoft .NET products and technologies replaces the previous working title of Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) and includes software for developers to build next-generation Internet experiences as well as power a new breed of smart Internet devices. Microsoft also announced plans for new products built on the .NET platform, including new generations of the Microsoft Windows® operating system, Windows DNA servers, Microsoft Office, the MSN™ network of Internet services and the Visual Studio® development system.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who in January also became chief software architect in order to devote himself fully to this effort, said today that Microsoft and industry partners will pioneer the
“Next Generation Internet”
through software that breaks down today’s barriers between
“digital islands”
— computers, devices, Web sites, organizations and industries — to help realize the full potential of the Internet.

“The impact of the Internet has been spectacular to date, but the pace of innovation will accelerate over the next five years,”
Gates said.
“Our goal is to move beyond today’s world of standalone Web sites to an Internet of interchangeable components where devices and services can be assembled into cohesive, user-driven experiences.”

Through a series of customer scenarios and technology demonstrations, Microsoft executives showcased new software technologies and underscored four key principles guiding the new .NET platform:

  • Improved User Experience Puts People in Control — .NET will give users a more productive and purposeful experience through greater user control over personal information and preferences, new user interface technologies, a new breed of smart Internet devices, and the ability to harness multiple devices and services toward a common goal. As the Internet becomes more personal, consumers will want software that enables them to define and control privacy. Microsoft is building innovative privacy technology into the foundation of Microsoft’s next-generation software, including Microsoft Passport, providing customers with control of their Internet experience. Microsoft will host a personal Information Agent that will deliver consumers the ability to access, view, edit and delete the personal information that they enter at various sites. Additionally, Microsoft is incorporating privacy-enabling technologies based on the P3P specification into Microsoft’s next-generation operating systems.

  • Ease of Use/Simplicity — .NET facilitates the continuous delivery of software to customers via a distributed computing model for the Internet that uniquely exploits the abundance of both computing and communications.

  • Internet Standards — .NET is based on Internet protocols and standards for interactions between devices and services, and in particular relies on the Extensible Markup Language (XML).

  • Business Integration and Opportunity
    .NET creates opportunities for millions of developers not only to build Internet services and businesses more easily, but also to integrate those offerings directly with business partners and customers.

“Our guiding principles have always been about empowering individuals and creating opportunities for the industry. We are now taking that strategy to a new level by building a new platform based on Internet standards, which makes computing and communications easier for everyone,”
Gates said.

“Today’s Internet experience can be confusing and difficult, with a jumble of applications, Web pages and devices, none of which work with one another on your behalf,”
Gates said.
“With the emergence of standards like XML, we now have the opportunity to revolutionize the way computers talk to one another on our behalf just as the browser changed the way we interact with computers.”

Introducing the .NET Platform

Gates today announced the new .NET platform, consisting of the following technologies:

  • .NET User Experience. A new set of technologies for building next-generation user experiences, including the new Universal Canvas XML-based compound information architecture, natural user interface, integral digital media support, privacy-enabling technologies for management and control of personal information, and the new Dynamic Delivery system for secure and seamless installation, updates, roaming and offline operation.

  • .NET Infrastructure and Tools. An implementation of the new XML-based programming model helps developers build, deliver, integrate, operate and federate Web services. Visual Studio 7.0, a new version of the world’s most popular developer toolset, will provide comprehensive, high-productivity support for XML-based Web service development, including the 50 percent of the world’s developers who use the Visual Basic® development system. The new BizTalk™
    Orchestration tool dramatically simplifies business process integration over the Internet. The .NET Infrastructure and Tools build off the XML-enabled family of Windows DNA 2000 servers.

  • .NET Building Block Services. A new family of highly distributed, programmable developer services that run across standalone machines, in corporate data centers and across the Internet. Services include Identity, Notification and Messaging, Personalization, Schematized Storage, Calendar, Directory, Search and Software Delivery. These services bring together elements of Windows technology with Internet-based Microsoft services such as Passport, the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, MSN Messenger and MSN Communities to deliver a truly distributed set of building blocks for developers to use in their own products whether they are programming for a single machine or across the Internet. Different instances of these services can cooperate and exchange information through a process called federation, which allows organizations to decide whether to run their own infrastructure or host it externally without compromising their control or access to services across the Internet or when offline.

  • .NET Device Software. An array of software to power a new breed of smart Internet-connected devices that can take maximum advantage of the .NET platform and fully participate in next-generation user experiences. Microsoft will deliver new versions of Windows supporting the .NET platform technologies that maintain and extend the PC’s role as an optimum way to take full advantage of the Internet. This software will XML-enable any device, support intelligent interaction with the network and .NET services and serve as a foundation to bring .NET User Experience technologies to non-PC devices such as Pocket PCs, set-top boxes, cellular phones and game consoles.

  • The .NET platform breaks new ground in terms of using Internet standards such as XML to link systems together; its commitment to improving both the user and the developer experience; the introduction of the first highly distributed services architecture for the Internet; and applications transparency across local machines, corporate data centers and Internet services through the process of federation.

New Opportunity for Developers, Partners, Customers

Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer outlined the new opportunities .NET will create for developers and partners and highlighted the support of leading technology partners.

“The Internet revolution must now move to its next stage: ensuring that the ocean of information and resources that is out there actually work together,”
Ballmer said.
“By creating a unified platform through which devices and services cooperate with each other, Microsoft will unleash a new wave of developer opportunity and creativity that will move us to a level of power and simplicity.”

Ballmer addressed some specific examples of who will benefit in the new era.
“A shift of this magnitude has huge revenue potential,”
Ballmer said, citing examples of traditional partners who will expand their applications to take advantage of new devices; customers who will programmatically expose their Web services to enhance customer service and develop new revenue sources; and new types of partners with creative ideas for how to enhance the Internet experience with automated, interactive Web services.
“This new computing era will see a shift from people interacting with single devices to software serving people according to their individual preferences. Web developers are the key players who will drive that transformation.”

Microsoft .NET Products and Services

In addition to these core underlying platform technologies, Microsoft will also offer a selection of .NET experiences for individual audiences. They include the following:

  • Windows.NET. Windows.NET is the next generation of Windows. Windows.NET will be a product that supports productivity, creativity, management, entertainment and much more, and is designed to put users in control of their digital lives. It incorporates new .NET user experience technologies, is tightly integrated with .NET building block services including identity and search and provides integrated support for digital media. Windows.NET will be self-supporting, featuring services that provide ongoing support and updates as users need them. Windows.NET will provide a rich foundation for developers who want to create new .NET applications and services. It will offer a programmable user experience that can be customized by corporations and individuals and programmed by .NET services including MSN.NET, bCentral™
    for .NET and Office.NET, as well as a host of third-party .NET services. The first release of Windows to incorporate .NET elements is scheduled to be available in 2001. Microsoft will also continue to offer support for versions of the Windows platform without .NET services.

  • MSN.NET . MSN.NET will deliver the first consumer user experience for the next generation Internet. By combining the leading content and services of MSN with the new .NET platform, MSN.NET will allow consumers to create a single digital personality and use smart services to ensure consistent, seamless and safe access to the information, entertainment and people they care about any time, any place and on any device. MSN.NET will build on a new integrated client, currently in beta, that brings together the best of MSN dynamic Web services, content, the .NET building block services and .NET device support to deliver a complete, integrated consumer experience. MSN will offer superior access to content and services from third-party developers and the broadest range of devices based on the opportunities afforded from the .NET platform.

  • Consumer Subscription Services. In addition to the MSN.NET consumer offering, Microsoft also plans to build a set of premium .NET services to offer a wide range of consumer-oriented services building on the .NET platform. These services will build on existing Microsoft consumer software in the area of entertainment, games, education and productivity. These services will give people the power of traditional desktop applications with the flexibility, integration and roaming support of the new .NET family of user experiences.

  • Office.NET. Microsoft announced Office.NET, a future productivity and communications service designed to meet the needs of 21st century knowledge workers. The Office.NET experience will deliver major new innovations to benefit customers in four areas. A new natural user interface will streamline how customers interact with the service. A new architecture, based on smart clients and services, will provide rich functionality, performance and automatic deployments. Universal collaboration services will enable anyone to collaborate with people inside and outside their companies. Office.NET services will extend any time, any place and on any device, along with personalization capabilities to enable a new level of freedom and control. Over time these technologies will be incorporated into a number of Microsoft services.

  • bCentral for .NET. Microsoft will significantly expand the bCentral small business portal, its small-business user experience, with several cutting-edge services built on the .NET platform. The expanded services include Outlook® Web services, enhanced commerce services and a new customer relationship management (CRM) service. Outlook Web services, built with .NET building block services, will provide browser-based messaging, calendaring and personal Information Agent features through the familiar Outlook interface and a Web folder for storing files and accessing them remotely. The enhanced commerce and customer management services will enable small business customers to better serve their customers online. Functionality is scheduled to include support for rich hosted catalogs and the ability to track interactions with customers to enable personalized service. These expanded services are scheduled to be made available broadly through Microsoft bCentral later this year.

  • Visual Studio.NET is an XML-based programming model and rapid application development tool that is fully supported by the MSDN™
    developer service and Windows DNA 2000 servers. Visual Studio.NET enables the easy delivery of highly distributed, programmable services that run across standalone machines, in corporate data centers and across the Internet.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows, MSN, Visual Studio, Visual Basic, BizTalk, Hotmail, bCentral, Outlook and MSDN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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