Bill Gates Opens Fourth CEO Summit With Call to Business Leaders To Prepare for the Third Phase of the Internet

REDMOND, Wash., May 24, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today told CEOs of leading companies from around the world that the Internet is rapidly entering a new third phase, beyond mere connectivity and simple transactions. In a speech opening Microsoft’s fourth annual CEO Summit, Gates shared his belief that the successful companies in this next generation of the Internet will be those that renew their customer commitment, strengthen ties with partners and use the power of leading-edge Internet services to enable seamless interaction both within their organization and throughout their business model.

More than 160 of the world’s top global business leaders and CEOs are gathering on the Microsoft® Campus in Redmond to take part in presentations and interactive discussions exploring the new digital economy and focusing on technologies and strategies to better equip enterprises for competitive business growth.

“Microsoft looks forward to this event each year, and once again we’re delighted to have such diverse and talented leaders present today,”
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.”

Phase Three of the Internet: the Shift to Services

In the keynote address that opened the CEO Summit, Gates described the Internet’s evolution from a one-way portal and content-driven entity — where businesses sought an Internet presence — to a more service-oriented, two-way tool for businesses. In the third phase of the Internet, Gates believes businesses will utilize tools that enhance relationships, provide interactive services and expand communication to increase knowledge-sharing beyond applications. In his speech, the Microsoft co-founder described how the world’s leading software company has already implemented tools to improve procurement, increase effectiveness and enhance relationships with suppliers. Utilizing Internet-based services in a variety of ways enables companies to expand on their information technologies rapidly, adding value to their business relationships and improving their performance. As an example, Gates highlighted several service areas where the next phase of the Internet will have a significant impact:

  • Personal services. Today, banks provide access to account information and brokers enable online trading, but through a service-oriented Internet, bank records, brokerage transactions, insurance information and complete financial portfolios will be seamlessly linked. Connecting other personal information such as calendars, instant messaging and voice mail in a fully integrated solution with purchasing records and credit card authentication increases control and improves private access to personal information.

  • Business-to-consumer services. By enabling a user-controlled experience where consumers choose their method of searching for and completing online transactions, transactions move beyond device or portal dependency to become a fully interactive and enjoyable experience.

  • Business-to-business services. In addition to procurement, business-to-business interaction is about increasing communication, developing communities and exchanging information to benefit competitive development and improve the bottom line. Using tools that enable online collaboration and automated, platform-independent information exchange, businesses can work together to capitalize on partnerships and increase their ability to innovate.

  • Business-to-employee services. Empowering the employee is an essential element of the third phase of the Internet. Through streamlined processes and greater access to self-service systems, employees will increase their benefit to the overall business goals while contributing to business intelligence. By using technology that provides employees with time-saving tools, companies will also optimize their productivity and employee allocation.

Gates said the company will reveal the road map for its next generation of software on June 1 at the Forum 2000 event.

The CEO Summit was established in response to growing business-leader interest in IT issues. Many CEOs recognize the business benefits made possible through the deployment of complete IT solutions and view technology as a strategic business tool. The CEO Summit provides these leaders with an opportunity to expand their understanding of technology’s impact on overall business productivity and discuss the issues with peers from around the world.

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.

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