Gates Outlines Technology Trends Driving the “Digital Decade”

Bill Gates shows visiting CEOs a prototype Tablet PC

REDMOND, Wash., May 22, 2002 — This morning at Microsofts sixth annual CEO Summit, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates outlined some of the key technology trends that will drive what he calls the
“Digital Decade.”
Addressing an audience of over 100 CEOs representing virtually all major industries, Gates explained how versatile, powerful computing devices, ubiquitous networking and software innovations will converge to revolutionize individual productivity and streamline business processes.

“Over the next five or six years, we will see some very dramatic advances,”
Gates said.
“Even today, weve seen an impact on productivity thats phenomenal.”

Gates noted that Moores Law — which predicts that processing power will double roughly every 18 months — is expected to hold true throughout the next decade, while storage capacity and network connectivity are expected to grow at even faster rates. This, he said, makes it possible for PC functionality to be embedded into a wider range of devices, from smart mobile phones to Microsofts forthcoming Tablet PC platform. (CEOs attending the summit were issued their own prototype Tablet PCs, on which they could view presentation slides, take notes and communicate via wireless networking.)

These devices allow individual knowledge workers to communicate and access the information they need wherever they are, through more natural interfaces such as handwriting and speech.
“In a few years, these devices will be something we all practically take for granted,”
Gates said. New display and interface technologies will also transform the desktop experience, as Gates showed by demonstrating a prototype widescreen display capable of viewing several full pages of text at once.

Software, Gates explained, will play a central role in making all these new devices work together, both through natural and intuitive interfaces as well as standards that enable richer connectivity among people, devices, software and services.

Executives gathered for Microsoft’s sixth CEO Summit (L-R): Jamie Dimon, Bank One; Sizwe Nxasana, Telkom South Africa: Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft; John Eyler, Toys ‘R’ Us; A.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble.

But these innovations wont just transform the way information workers do their jobs, Gates said. Through technologies such as XML — the information exchange standard at the heart of Microsofts .NET strategy — businesses will be able to automate processes and enable greater integration both within the organization and among customers, partners and suppliers.

Gates noted how the increasing complexity of IT systems has made it difficult for companies to make the most of those new capabilities, and highlighted features in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system and the .NET platform that lessen the management workload. He also highlighted the work of the Travelers Group insurance companies, which have used .NET technologies to create new efficiencies and drastically cut their claims processing time.

“Were experiencing a time of constant innovation — which I call the Digital Decade — that will transform the way we work,”
Gates said.
“Although computers have generated huge improvements in workplace productivity throughout the past 20 years, some of the greatest developments are still on the horizon. CEOs need to keep investing in these kinds of technologies to achieve the next level of cost savings, time to market and business agility.”

Microsoft established the CEO Summit six years ago in response to growing interest in technology among corporate CEOs. Throughout the two-day event, attendees will hear industry experts and Microsoft executives speak about economic trends and technology issues, while discussing and sharing technology experiences with their peers from around the world.

“The turbulence of 2001 has created uncertainty in the global business landscape, but forward-looking companies can use technology to respond more quickly to change,”
Gates said.
“Todays CEOs are more savvy about technology than ever, and this years CEO Summit will give them an even better picture of how to use technology to empower their work force, and deliver better products and solutions to their customers.”

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