Gates Opens Eighth Annual Microsoft CEO Summit

REDMOND, Wash., May 20, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today welcomed more than 100 top international business leaders to the eighth annual Microsoft CEO Summit. Chief executives from some of the most respected organizations around the world have come to Microsoft’s Redmond campus to exchange ideas on key issues, and to hear the company’s vision for how technology can be leveraged to build stronger customer connections and greater organizational productivity.

Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates shows the the Sierra Wireless Voq phone that runs on Windows Mobile Smartphone software to the over 100 Fortune 1000 CEOs attending the 2004 Microsoft CEO Summit, held May 20, 2004 in Redmond, Wash. Click image for high-res version.

In the opening keynote address, Gates set the stage for two days of discussion, debate and interactive sessions on the theme “Transforming Information Into Impact.” “Current trends in technology and business are creating unprecedented opportunities for increased productivity and business value,” Gates said. “This year’s CEO Summit will explore how organizations can best take advantage of those opportunities.”

In his keynote address, Gates told the CEOs that Microsoft intends to help organizations use IT to drive business value through improved productivity and optimized business processes to take advantage of emerging digital technology.

Sharing his optimism for a new era of productivity gains, Gates described how software advances will someday eliminate much of the frustration people suffer as they manage files, search for information, tap into new functionality and deal with annoyances like spam e-mail. Gates talked about a quiet revolution in digital communications and collaboration, in which information workers will be empowered to quickly and easily share ideas through advances such as blogging, team-oriented Web sites and online communities.

Gates noted that it is not only information workers who will benefit from these new software advances. He described how business decision-makers will be able to leverage Web services to gain insight into operations, sales, and customer and employee satisfaction. At the same time, through centralized management and operations, Gates envisions corporate IT departments being able to provide end users with provisioning, reliability, security and backup.

“The amazing advances in technology we’re now seeing will empower information workers and transform productivity around the world,” Gates said. “This innovation will open up exciting new opportunities for every business – truly enabling them to transform information into impact.”

The Microsoft CEO Summit was established in 1997 in response to growing interest in the convergence of technology and business issues among corporate CEOs. It is considered one of the most important gatherings of global business leaders, second only to the World Economic Forum. Not only is the conference an opportunity for attendees to hear leading industry experts and Microsoft executives analyze economic trends and technology issues, it also is a valuable forum in which CEOs can discuss business challenges and share insights and experiences with their peers from around the world.

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Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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