Gates Says New Era in Internet Computing Will Bring More Choice and a More Personal Web

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 14, 1999 — Proclaiming a new era in Internet computing, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates told an industry audience during his COMDEX/Fall ’99 keynote tonight that Web sites will change radically in the coming year from places where information is merely displayed to personal interactive service centers where consumers will be able to simply and easily access the information, goods and services they want, when they want it, from a variety of devices.

“The Web will become more and more personal,”
Gates said.
“In a few short years, we’ve watched computing become personal computing, and now we will see the World Wide Web become the personal Web. We are on the verge of an explosion of new technologies, new devices and new networks that will radically change the computing experience as we know it. The Internet is becoming a powerful platform upon which businesses and organizations will offer an almost endless choice of services – accessed from broadband networks and mobile wireless networks.”

Gates said consumers and the industry are presented with two primary views of computing: the static, centralized view of
“big box”
computing and the personal empowerment view of personal computing. He characterized the
“old model”
as being server-only, vertically integrated, costly, centrally controlled, having a single point of failure and sacrificing user flexibility. Gates said the PC model continues to be noted for low cost, high volume, ease of use, breadth of software, having many companies involved and low barriers to entry.

The PC model is working very well, Gates said. He introduced his speech by pointing to the phenomenal competition, innovation and economic growth in the PC industry. As the Web becomes more personal, the PC will remain at the center, he said. More than 100 million PCs were shipped this year, Gates said, and that growth is expected to continue. He noted that actual PC sales have outpaced analysts’ predictions by 54 percent since 1992.

Looking ahead to the new year, Gates said six trends in the technology industry are combining to transform the Internet and personal computing:

  • XML will become a key Internet technology, becoming more visible than even HTML.

  • Broadband and wireless networks will make computing faster and more pervasive.

  • The Microsoft® Windows® 2000 operating system will make PC computing as scalable and reliable as much higher-priced alternatives, reduce the barrier to entry, and accelerate the move to the Web by organizations and businesses offering a wealth of information, goods and services.

  • Growth in the development of new computing devices, ranging from interactive television to smaller PC-compatible handheld computers, will explode. The PC will remain the primary device of choice for the knowledge worker.

  • As the Web becomes more personal, privacy will become more critical. Privacy-enabling technologies such as P3P and XML-based privacy statements will help to protect consumer privacy.

  • Gates said that children raised in the Internet era – the so-called
    “Generation I,”
    “Gen. I”
    – will face challenges and opportunities never before seen as a result of this continued technological momentum.

Demonstrating the power of personalizing the Web, Gates showed new XML-based technologies that enable Web services, a variety of computing devices and personal information to work together for consumers to create the most personalized Web service ever. After demonstrating how a consumer can customize the purchase of a car, Gates
“programmed the Web”
to plan a trip that leveraged GPS services in the car, made use of a variety of trip-planning information on the Web, automatically scheduled services from businesses along the route and downloaded his favorite music to the car.

Windows 2000

Gates said that the long-awaited Windows 2000 product was architected for the requirements of business customers who are facing the challenges of how the Internet will change the way they do business. The hallmarks of Windows 2000 are that it natively supports Internet-enabled applications and provides superior reliability and centralized desktop and server manageability. It also is optimized for new hardware devices that provide the flexibility and extensibility customers require as they explore new opportunities on the Internet. Gates confirmed that the company expects that Windows 2000, both client and server code, is scheduled to be released to manufacturing (RTM) this year. The product is scheduled to be available at retail outlets on Feb. 17, 2000.

Gates commented that he was proud of the discipline and integrity of the development for Windows 2000. The product is in an unparalleled beta test with over 600,000 users and hundreds of customers currently running in production environments.

Microsoft developers have been working tirelessly to make Windows 2000 the most reliable operating system in the industry, Gates said. To drive home the point that Windows capabilities extend far beyond the desktop and mid-level server, Gates demonstrated on stage the use of dozens of PCs generating the equivalent of 500 million daily Web page hits – a very high hit rate given any Web site on the Internet today – on a Web site powered by just five servers running Windows 2000. The Windows 2000-based servers managed 6,000 hits per second. The multiserver approach not only is the low-cost server alternative, but with cluster load balancing inherent in the operating systems, it avoids the costly business risk of a single point of failure.

Gates said that customers who have been previewing Windows 2000 have told Microsoft there are four advantages they believe make it the right platform for doing business on the Internet:

  • Best way to Internet-enable a business. Businesses do not move from internal IT infrastructures to business-to-business or business-to-consumer Internet communications overnight. Windows 2000 and Microsoft’s industry partners provide a smooth and easy path from internal to external networks, including addressing scalability, standards-based security and Windows DNA 2000-based Web applications services.

  • Improved reliability. The Windows 2000 architecture ensures higher system uptime; dynamic system configuration, which protects against system failure; and more consistent business performance. These advancements are key in bringing customers closer to 24×7 service.

  • Advanced manageability. Through new technologies such as IntelliMirror TM management technologies and Active Directory TM services, IT managers will be able to easily manage their users, desktops, applications and servers from a central location, significantly reducing the total cost of ownership. Automated setup processes also make it significantly easier and faster for businesses to deploy and migrate to Windows 2000.

  • Best for new devices. Windows 2000 has been architected to address the needs of the expanding mobile work force with enhanced support for plug and play, Universal Serial Bus, power management, infrared and wireless devices, as well as providing new capabilities such as offline folders to access important information even when disconnected from the network. This device support also expands to the network to provide rich virtual private networking and routing solutions.

The MSN-Based Web Companion

Gates spoke about the proliferation of new information devices and unveiled several prototypes of new MSN TM -based Web companions.

MSN is stepping up to the challenge of getting more people using the Web every day by working with our OEM partners to deliver a simple and inexpensive device that lets consumers take advantage of the great services on TM and the incredible richness of the entire Web,”
Gates said.

These Windows CE-powered devices will have instant-on functionality, a simplified interface and keyboard, will use MSN Internet Access to connect to the Web and link directly to services. MSN-based Web companions will be manufactured by a number of OEMs. Early support has come from Acer Inc., Philips Electronics, Thomson Multimedia and Vestel USA. Beta versions of MSN-based Web companions are expected by the end of the year, with general availability expected in the second half of 2000. Pricing will vary depending on device, with specifics to be announced at a later date; however, the goal is to deliver a low-cost device to consumers.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software 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.

This press release is provided for informational purposes only. It contains statements that are both forward thinking and pertaining to prereleased products. Forward-thinking statements contained in this press release represent the current view of Microsoft Corp. on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication. Information regarding prereleased product may not accurately describe or reflect the product when first commercially released. Accordingly, this press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this press release or the information contained in it.

Microsoft, Windows, IntelliMirror, Active Directory, MSN and are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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