Business Without Barriers

MIAMI, Mar. 21, 2000 — Capitalizing the Opportunity: That is the theme of Microsoft’s seventh annual Latin America Enterprise Solutions Conference, and Bill Gates, company chairman and chief software architect, outlined a compelling vision of opportunities for businesses in the region during his keynote address, delivered today.

Gates’ speech was titled Business Without Barriers, and in it he explained how the Internet has revolutionized the business world, cited the opportunities and the challenges that revolution has engendered, and described how a host of Microsoft products, led by Windows 2000, will enable nimble companies to respond effectively.

“From e-commerce to increased productivity, the Internet is redefining the way business is conducted throughout the world,”
Gates said,
“and Windows 2000 makes it possible for companies of every size to realize that potential. As the Latin American economy grows and evolves, Microsoft will be an increasingly valuable partner to businesses throughout the region.”

The growth of Internet-related commerce is expected to be particularly dramatic in Latin American markets in the next few years. In documenting that rise, Gates cited the following statistics:

  • Latin American companies’ expenditures for online advertising are expected to reach $1.6 billion this year.

  • The region is second in the world in the growth of spending on information technology (IT).

  • Web commerce within the region is expected to total nearly $11 billion by 2003.

  • Latin America has experienced a five-year annual growth rate of 42 percent rise in Internet services.

“We are incredibly optimistic about the future of Latin America, because its companies are rapidly increasing their investment in the technologies and infrastructure needed to connect businesses, governments and educational systems,”
Gates said.
“Microsoft’s vision is to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device. Nowhere is the power and promise of that vision more evident than in Latin America.”

Gates traced the evolution of the Web and the innovations along the way before lingering on the promise offered by the implementation of XML.

“People see an opportunity to invest and get out in front,’ he said.”
In The Business Internet, even competitive business can be done through the digital process. Part of this advance is underlying technology. With XML, instead of exchanging a screen of information, you can share the information itself.

He later returned to that theme:
“You can take data and map it to all kinds of different devices. That’s a pretty fundamental transformation, and the payoff is very, very dramatic.”

And he listed nine separate products as part of Microsoft’s 2000 Generation —
“every one designed around the XML vision.”

Gates also stressed the importance of scalability and reliability to e-commerce businesses, calling them
“critical,”
and he promised that Windows 2000 will provide them.

“It is fundamental to have the right infrastructure, particularly for e-commerce,”
he said. As for performance issues, with Windows 2000, he stated,
“We’re going to put this issue to rest.”

The Microsoft chairman also described the changing role of the knowledge worker thanks to technological advances.

“Many of you are facing competition from startups,”
he noted.
“And when you look inside them, you see that they are very digital — and very, very effective.”

The keynote had its lighter moments, as well. A video on Microsoft’s vision, titled
“Everyone’s Talking Technology,”
featured humorous cameos by NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, Michael Dell of Dell Computer, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, and film comic Leslie Nielsen, as well as Microsoft President Steve Ballmer and Gates himself.

Another crowd-pleasing moment came when Microsoft’s Steven VanRoekel took the stage to deliver the first public demonstration of MiPad, a high-speed, wireless, Web-enabled, voice-activated device. Using only voice commands and a few clicks on the device, he was able to call a meeting, invite a person, set a time, and designate a place. Then he merely told the device,
“Forget it,”
and the meeting vanished from the screen, to the delighted cheers of the conference attendees.

“As you think about software,”
Gates said,
“you have to think about a much broader environment, to make it easy for people to access information.”

Three of Microsoft’s Latin American customers were cited to show how Microsoft technology is enhancing their business in the key areas of knowledge management, e-commerce and IT infrastructure:

  • Argentina’s Bansud bank has implemented a Digital Dashboard using Office 2000 to share a warehouse of business indicators.

  • Banco Bradesco, Brazil’s largest bank, based its online shopping service, Shopinvest, on Windows DNA architecture. The service delivers integrated purchasing and financial services and was named the winner of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award, presented for outstanding innovation.

  • <

  • DeRemate.com, the leading provider of online auctions for the Latin American market, has adopted a Windows 2000 infrastructure to meet its requirements of high availability and high performance. That decision has enabled the site to amass 280,000 registered users and 30,000 page views per month.

Such success stories only reconfirm Microsoft’s commitment to its Latin American customers and partners, Gates concluded.

“The next generation of the Internet will fulfill all the dreams out there,”
he said.

The demand is very, very high. And Microsoft makes it easy to do this.

“I’m really quite excited. I look forward to working with you to realize the possibilities.”

Related Posts

Q&A: Enabling Latin American E-Commerce

In a conversation with PressPass, Microsoft Latin America Vice President Mauricio Santillan discusses the company’s role in the rapidly growing Latin American region.