HANNOVER, Germany, March 14, 2002 — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in a five-day, five-country tour through Europe this week, delivered an unmistakably upbeat message about the technology industry’s future, its benefits for consumers, businesses and government, and the accelerating number of industry partnerships — and opportunities for partnership — that are central to this vision.
Celebrating the agreement: (L-R) Microsoft’s Brian Boruff, DT’s Klaus Mrz, Microsoft’s Kurt Sibold, DT’s Jan Geldmacher, Microsoft’s Pieter Knook. Click on the image for a high res photo
Ballmer underscored his point Wednesday by announcing industry partnerships with companies worldwide, covering a broad range of technologies, including the Microsoft .NET platform and its expanding use in a variety of mobile devices such as increasingly powerful cell phones and PDAs; new smart displays that bring Windows XP to any part of a consumer’s home.
“I see opportunity everywhere we look,” Ballmer said Tuesday night in a keynote address to more than 2,500 attendees at CeBIT 2002 Technology Fair, one of Europe’s largest technology conferences and trade shows, in Hannover, Germany. “I believe we will do more as an industry to positively impact the world in the next 10 years than we did in the last 10 years,” Ballmer said. “We’re an industry that helps people and businesses realize their full potential.” The technology industry holds, Ballmer noted, the key to helping people realize potential, not only for businesses and individual consumers, but for world economy itself.
The key lies in accomplishing four major tasks, Ballmer explained. “Make things simpler, more flexible, more connected and integrated, and faster,” he said. “If we as an industry really do that, we have a chance to help the world in all walks of life realize a set of potential that it never knew it had.”
In addition to Germany, Ballmer is visiting the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and Denmark.
Deutsche Telekom Deal Highlights Growing Importance of .NET, Industry Agreements
Highlighting the growing importance of the Microsoft .NET platform and the XML Web services it enables, Ballmer and Ron Sommer, chairman of Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telecommunications company, appeared Wednesday at a CeBIT news conference to unveil extensive plans for Deutsche Telekom (DT) to adopt the .NET platform for DT’s mobile and solutions business. DT and Microsoft will also create a groundbreaking solution called T .NET, and cooperate in the development of devices and services, providing new functionality and access for the future of business mobility. Microsoft and Deutsch Telekom expect T .NET to spur the development of advanced XML Web services throughout Germany and Europe, opening new opportunities for software developers and Application Service Providers.
DT’s T-Mobile division and Microsoft also will collaborate on the next generation of mobile devices (including Microsoft Windows Powered Smartphone and Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition powered devices) and mobile services, providing customers with access to the MSN network of Internet services, including MSN Messenger Service and MSN Hotmail Web-based e-mail.
Deutsche Telekom will rely on .NET technology to launch new services later this spring that enable customers to access their corporate data — including e-mail, contacts, calendars, full-color HTML pages and Virtual Private Networks — securely from anywhere in the company’s U.S. and European network, and from any wireless device including laptops, personal digital assistants, smart phones and WAP phones. The services will be offered under the Mobile Service Portal and Mobile Access Portal product lines
International Partnerships Boost Microsoft Presence in Mobility Area
Ballmer also announced two developments that will expand offerings of mobile devices that deliver Web services and wireless data any time, any place, and on any device.
Starting in May, mmO2 will make the new Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition software available on all of its xda Pocket PC devices in Europe. The recently announced Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition enables device makers to combine the best of PDAs with integrated wireless voice and data capabilities. Meanwhile, Fujitsu Siemens Computers is joining the growing number of Pocket PC makers already supporting Pocket PC 2002 software by launching its PocketLOOX, which features modular GSM/GPRS wireless connectivity and expandability.
The moves further highlight the importance that Microsoft places on industry partnerships to promote its .NET vision, as well as the growing role of mobile devices in delivering the benefits of that vision to consumers. They also continue growing momentum for Microsoft in what observers call “the wireless ecosystem” of mobile smart devices and PCs. For example, Microsoft and Texas Instruments recently announced the Smartphone 2002 joint software and hardware reference design to enable operators, original design manufacturers and OEMs to bring Smartphone 2002 devices to market quickly and efficiently.
Microsoft Adds Partners for “Mira” Technology to Bring Windows to “Relaxed Settings”
CeBIT 2002 was also the setting for partnership announcements with world-leading consumer electronics makers around Microsoft’s new technology — code-named “Mira” — to enable consumers to experience Windows XP away from their desktops, in relaxed settings anywhere in their homes. The technology for smart devices is based on Microsoft’s Windows CE .NET.LG Electronics Inc. and Philips Consumer Electronics will build a new generation of smart display devices based on “Mira,” and leading original design manufacturers TriGem Computer Inc. and Tatung Co. will develop innovative device designs for their OEM customers to bring “Mira”-based devices to market quickly. Philips used CeBIT 2002 to demonstrate its “Mira”-enabled 10.4-inch (26.4-centimeter) remote mobile monitor, which will allow a consumer to access a Windows XP-based PC wirelessly when the monitor is removed from its base. LG Electronics is developing a 15-inch (38.1-centimeter) primary detachable LCD monitor, and is considering development of remote mobile monitors ranging from 20 to 15 inches. Meanwhile, Tatung and TriGem said they will deliver smaller 8- and 10-inch “Mira”-enabled remote mobile monitors that act as secondary monitors to Windows XP-based PCs.
“Mira does for monitors what the cordless handset did for telephones,” Ballmer said. “It frees consumers from their home offices and allows them to enjoy the complete Windows-XP experience, including full Web browsing, sending and receiving e-mail messages, listening to music, and editing and displaying digital images, from any room in their homes.” “Mira” technology, now available in beta release, relies on the remote-desktop and wireless-networking features of the Windows XP and Windows CE .NET operating systems, and will enable smart displays in a variety of instant-on and silent-running form factors, ranging from a primary PC monitor that detaches to become a portable wireless touch-screen, to a large digital television that presents a complete Windows XP experience including access to music and photos from a PC. Other major manufacturers — Fujitsu Ltd., Intel Corp., National Semiconductor Corp., NEC Corp., Matsushita Electronic Corp., Sotec Co. Ltd., ViewSonic Corp. and Wyse Technology Inc. – are also developing Mira-enabled products, which are expected to be available for the 2002 holiday season.
20 European-designed Xbox Titles Launch; Europe’s First Video Game Facility Planned
Ballmer’s European visit coincided with the arrival of Microsoft’s Xbox video game system in Europe. Twenty European-developed game titles became available today in 16 countries across the continent, with a total of 60 such titles expected to be available by the end of June. Top European game makers producing titles for Xbox include Bizarre Creations, Digital Illusions and Lionhead Studios. Xbox is the only video game system with a European manufacturing facility.
Ballmer Highlights Need for “Responsible Leadership”
While predicting a bright next decade for the technology industry, Ballmer also injected a note of caution into his CeBIT keynote. He said that success will require responsible leadership in the technology industry, including an emphasis on Trustworthy Computing that ensures the safety, security and privacy of technology use, as well as the quality of technology products and services.
“We have to help our industry realize its potential to be trustworthy to our customers,” Ballmer said. “The more dependent the world gets on information technology, the more customers demand to trust what we do.”