Bill Gates Points to Software as Vital To Telecommunications Industry’s Health

GENEVA, Oct. 13, 2003 — In a keynote address to the telecommunications industry today, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates described how software is the key to enabling a new generation of telecommunication business offerings that will help meet increasing demands of customers and present service providers with an opportunity to drive new revenue streams. During his keynote address to more than 3,000 delegates at ITU Telecom World 2003, Gates showcased Microsoft’s technology applications and opportunities for telecommunications companies worldwide and announced a new initiative with Vodafone Group plc to develop enabling technology specifications for mobile Web services.

Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect, discusses the role of software in the telecommunications industry during his keynote address at the International Telecommunication Union, Telcom World 2003 convention in Geneva, Oct. 13, 2003. Click image for high-res version.

Voicing optimism about the future of telecommunications, Gates offered a glimpse of the software-powered services that he said would help empower customers by allowing them to connect to information and services, when and where they want. The Microsoft leader said that developers, technology providers and service providers can harness the power of Web services to create productivity tools for IT workers as well as communications tools that help connect people’s lives.

As such, Microsoft’s work and involvement in the many standards initiatives throughout the telecommunications industry is significant, Gates said, to help increase ease of use and near-term profitability for the millions of developers worldwide.

“Microsoft continues to play an active role in supporting open standards and interoperability in the telecommunications industry. This, combined with our push for unified developer tools and an open execution environment, will enable Web services to flourish,” Gates said.

He elaborated on the need for industry standards, suggesting that they would do the following:

  • Foster a larger ecosystem for companies to participate in industry opportunities

  • Improve time to market for products that interoperate

  • Drive higher volumes faster, thereby reducing costs and stimulating greater adoption

  • Allow innovation to differentiate and enhance features and performance while ensuring interoperability

“Building a healthy ecosystem for the industry is crucial to driving the usage of this new generation of offerings — which in turn will drive higher average revenue per user for the service providers,” Gates said.

In a focal point of the keynote address, Gates and a representative from Vodafone jointly announced an initiative to develop enabling technology specifications for mobile Web services, designed to extend mobile services to the PC world and offer application developers new opportunities.

The two companies also shared an outline of their vision to help create mobile Web services standards that would utilize existing standard Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based Web services architecture to expose mobile network services, such as location, billing, mobile messaging and authentication, to the broadest audience of developers. Advancing Web services into the mobile space will enable new market opportunities and business models for mobile network operators and developers. This collaboration on mobile Web services will accelerate the convergence between PC and mobile applications and services, both companies said.

At ITU Telecom World 2003 in Geneva, Microsoft Senior Vice President Pieter Knook shows a new phone by Orange. Click image for high-res version.

Demonstrating Microsoft’s commitment to the telecommunications industry, representatives from several of the company’s business units also presented their new software solutions and successes at the ITU show:

  • The Microsoft TV team announced plans for the development of a new Internet Protocol television (IPTV) delivery solution designed to enable cable and telecommunications operators to more easily and efficiently offer improved and next-generation TV services over existing broadband networks. This initiative will bring together state-of-the-art technologies from Microsoft and other industry leaders in an integrated, end-to-end solution that will support the full range of pay-TV services while scaling to millions of TV subscribers. Microsoft TV announced it is working with Bell Canada and Reliance Infocomm of India to create and test new services for consumers using the IPTV solution.

  • The Microsoft Mobile Devices Division and Orange unveiled the latest phone in the Orange Signature device range, the SPV E200. Featuring familiar Windows Mobile (TM) software, the SPV E200 is the world’s first Windows Mobile-based Smartphone with integrated camera and Bluetooth®
    , designed to give customers one-touch access to key services and exclusive Orange services, and makes full use of the Orange intelligent network.

  • The Windows team announced an enhancement to the wireless networking service in Windows designed to make Wi-Fi hot spots easier to deploy and use, and more secure. Microsoft wireless provisioning services (WPS) technology is a standards-based and integrated platform that enables wireless Internet service providers to easily provision and manage their Wi-Fi hot spots. WPS also allows users of Windows®
    XP to easily detect and connect to Wi-Fi hot spots via a seamless signup process, and it enables more secure Wi-Fi hot spot access without the need for browser-based deployment.

  • In the Communications Sector , Swisscom AG and Microsoft are cooperating to bring to market enterprise mobile data solutions that combine the power of Windows and the Microsoft®
    .NET Platform with the convenience and reliability of wireless broadband services from Swisscom Eurospot and Swisscom Mobile.

In addition, Microsoft will announce the availability of the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Exchange, a multiservice platform that allows service providers to build, deploy, deliver and manage rich e-mail communication services for consumers as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

  • The Xbox team will announce additional global partners for the Xbox Live (TM) service, the ultimate high-speed gaming arena and the first and only integrated community sharing in exhilarating, always-connected broadband gaming experiences.

About ITU Telecom World 2003

ITU Telecom World 2003 is being held at Geneva Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, Oct. 12–18. Microsoft products, partners and solutions will be showcased in Hall 4 at Stand 4100. For additional background materials and a complete listing of Microsoft press releases, members of the media are invited to visit Microsoft’s virtual pressroom for this event, located at .

About Microsoft

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.

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