Bill Gates Details Vision for Phase Two of .NET and Future of Web Services

EDITORS’ UPDATE, January 25, 2003
— Microsoft has discontinued use of the code name


The new components being developed for the Microsoft

Operating System, which are described in this article under the code name


are now referred to as the next-generation secure computing base for Windows.

REDMOND, Wash., July 24, 2002 — Microsoft Corp.’s Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today outlined the company’s vision and road map for phase two of Microsoft®
.NET, the company’s two-year-old software initiative for connecting information, people, disparate systems and devices. This next phase continues to build upon the XML-based interoperability of Web services, broadening the benefits to individuals, developers and organizations of all sizes. These efforts encompass software investments to help break down the technological barriers between people, systems and organizations as well as barriers to greater knowledge, trust and everyday use.

This next wave of technology investment builds upon today’s Web services foundation to provide tangible benefits for the IT industry and goes beyond it to support dynamic business relationships between companies. Likewise, information workers will realize even greater productivity gains than they have in the past decade as Web services unlock critical information and enable them to make better business decisions. At the same time, Microsoft is providing a platform for innovation and opportunity that not only serves the needs of customers, but also of partners and the industry as a whole.

“In just two years, we’ve gone from debut to delivery of the first generation of Microsoft .NET. It’s incredibly gratifying to see both its technology and its value to customers proven in the marketplace,” Gates said during a briefing for press and analysts. “The broad industry consensus around XML-based Web services gives us a tremendous foundation for breakthrough work in many areas. The focus of phase two of .NET is on software that creates connected customer experiences that transform the way people live and work.”

Breaking Down Barriers to a Connected World

Building upon the first phase of .NET that included the delivery of Visual Studio®
.NET, a comprehensive suite of developer tools launched earlier this year, as well as the broad support for Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Web services across Microsoft’s line of .NET Enterprise Servers, Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group, outlined five areas of focus for the future. These areas capture the breadth of the company’s future platform investments, all focused on breaking down technological barriers:

  • Breaking down barriers between systems and organizations. Tackling the problem of making it easier to connect different businesses and computer systems in a networked world, Microsoft described how it is advancing XML-based Web services working with the industry to provide a comprehensive foundation for distributed computing. Specifically, Microsoft demonstrated technologies that advance the XML Web services foundation to meet the requirements of businesses connecting their own disparate systems securely and reliably. Allchin also announced release candidate 1 (RC1) for Windows®
    .NET Server, which includes native support for the .NET Framework and will prove to be the most productive platform available for developing, deploying and managing XML Web services. Windows .NET Server will be one of the first products of the second phase of .NET.

  • Breaking down barriers to trust. Identifying security, privacy and reliability as critical to realizing trustworthy computing, Microsoft detailed key investments to advance these goals, including “Palladium,” a recently disclosed effort to create a new architecture for building trusted hardware and software systems. Microsoft also demonstrated forthcoming Microsoft Passport privacy and consent tools offering users more control of personal information in their digital world. In particular, Allchin demonstrated new technologies that will allow Passport users to easily and explicitly control their personal information on a site-by-site basis, enabling a richer and more private online experience.

  • Breaking down barriers between people. Every communications mechanism — e-mail, phone, instant messaging, group collaboration tools — forces individuals to adapt to its approach. Microsoft’s vision for next-generation communications uses Web services to enhance digital meetings and group collaboration and provides information-agent technology to unify and manage disparate communications mechanisms. Microsoft demonstrated its future direction for real-time communications and collaboration (RTC) server software code-named “Greenwich.”

  • Breaking down barriers to knowledge. As the volume of digital information continues to explode, a key goal is to help people not only keep up with the growth, but to effectively harness and distill information into knowledge and appropriate action. Microsoft showcased tools and technologies that will help developers and IT professionals unlock information and more readily analyze, visualize, share and act on that information. Highlighted technologies included the next version of SQL Server (TM) , code-named “Yukon,” with technologies that will be the first step toward Microsoft’s vision of unified data, as well as the forthcoming SQL Server Notifications Services for SQL Server 2000, which provides a highly scalable notifications system to alert individuals about new or updated data across a variety of delivery channels.

  • Breaking down barriers to everyday use. Creating next-generation digital user experiences that are more useful and compelling and that work simply is a goal for users and technologists alike. Today, millions of people listen to or download their favorite music from the Internet and more than 35 percent of U.S. households take and store pictures with a digital camera and PC. Yet, it is still a challenge to seamlessly tie together the variety of experiences in a way that is useful and intrinsic to users and their needs. Microsoft highlighted key upcoming technologies designed to advance the quality of the user experience, including Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Customer Experiences

During the briefing, Microsoft executives Eric Rudder and Jeff Raikes each addressed how technology investments in the next phase of .NET will benefit a number of customer audiences by delivering an experience very different than the past.


Eric Rudder, senior vice president of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division, provided an overview of future versions of Microsoft’s flagship developer tool, Visual Studio .NET. Rudder highlighted forthcoming versions of Visual Studio “Everett” edition and Visual Studio for “Yukon.” The products will be designed to take advantage of Windows .NET Server and “Yukon,” respectively. Rudder also demonstrated Web Matrix, an easy-to-use Web development tool recently released to the Web, which has had tremendous response from the broader developer community as evidenced by more than 100,000 downloads.

IT Professionals

.NET is aimed squarely at three of the biggest IT pain points: connecting disparate systems inside the organization and with business partners, addressing the applications backlog through improved developer productivity, and helping IT “do more with less” in the current economic climate. Rudder also outlined a renewed focus on deployment and operations, including efforts to use Web services infrastructure to make management intrinsic to all applications as well as integrated management solutions that combine development, deployment and operations into a unified process for managing the applications life cycle and delivering customer benefit. The company demonstrated for the first time its “Server Manager Project,” which builds on the capabilities of Microsoft Operations Manager and Application Center to deliver end-to-end service management of Web-based applications to allow quicker analysis and resolution of problems.

Information Workers

Jeff Raikes, group vice president of the Productivity and Business Services Group, discussed the challenges that businesses and information workers are currently facing — such as productivity, organizational and IT efficiency, and disconnected islands of data — and outlined the key investments Microsoft is making to address these issues. Raikes announced version two of the Office XP Web Services Toolkit, tools that use XML to unlock the data within organizations in a way that is useful and relevant for information workers. Raikes also articulated a vision for the future of the various software investments that companies make on behalf of their information workers, including productivity applications, business applications and collaboration software. Each of these categories is evolving to take advantage of XML Web services and will drive better decision-making, collaboration and productivity.


Throughout the day, Microsoft demonstrated how XML Web services will enable a broad array of rich and compelling next-generation user experiences that will break down the barriers to trust, everyday use and people. Specifically, Microsoft showed how forthcoming Passport technology will enable users to have more fine-grained control over how their personal information is managed online as well as how Windows XP Media Center Edition will bring the power of the Windows-based PC to home entertainment. In addition, Microsoft demonstrated future technologies that will enable a unified treatment of people and groups across a range of applications. Microsoft also demonstrated future technology that integrates XML-based Web services, allowing for new visualization and presentation via an immersive, multimedia experience.

Microsoft also highlighted MSN®
8, the newest version of MSN, which will debut this fall, to deliver a smart client with rich offline capabilities that incorporate building-block services such as Passport and .NET Alerts. In addition, MSN 8 will feature dramatically improved spam protection, online safety and security features such as parental-control features and virus protection, as well as a personalized user experience through a new My MSN home page. And, because it deploys updated software seamlessly in the background with availability as a subscription service independent of underlying access, MSN 8 is an example of software as a service in both the technical and business sense.

Enabling Partner Opportunity

Microsoft’s technology investments go beyond creating new customer experiences and extend to incredible opportunity for the industry in general and industry partners in particular. Microsoft outlined the principles of the company’s long-standing commitment to industry partners, including low cost of doing business and how .NET provides the industry’s best total cost of ownership benefits by enabling partners to take advantage of existing skills, investments and assets; faster time to market via an integrated suite of highly productive developer tools and consistent programming across all tiers of an application; and increased revenue opportunities through relevant solutions for IT professionals, business decision-makers and information workers in any industry. Such principles foster the development of a dynamic, healthy partner ecosystem comprising business application vendors, systems integrators, service providers and hardware vendors of all types and sizes.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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