Gates touts internet, but acknowledges excesses

Although the internet has been over-hyped recently, it still represents a new era of computing, which Microsoft intends to be at the forefront of, chairman Bill Gates has said in a speech.

          Although the internet has been over-hyped recently, it still represents a new era of computing, which Microsoft intends to be at the forefront of with its .NET computing services vision, company Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said in a speech here on Monday.

          Speaking at the opening of Microsoft's Silicon Valley technology center, Gates said the present is the perfect time to invest in a customer applications facility because "we believe the industry is on the verge of a new era."

          People have been questioning internet hype lately, Gates acknowledged. Microsoft, he said, believes that "although there were excesses, actually, the dream is very much alive."

          Gates did not elaborate on what specifically those excesses were. The computer industry within the past six months has experienced an economic slowdown, with the failure of some highly publicised companies and disappointing financial reports from established technology companies.

          Microsoft intends to be at the forefront of the internet, as it was with the DOS PC and Windows PC eras, Gates said, showing a chart declaring internet computing to be the era of "Windows ++."

          Key to Microsoft's plan is XML (extensible markup language), including an upcoming XML-based development toolkit due in a few months, Gates said. XML presents a mechanism for open, distributed computing, with the ability for programmers to communicate despite having never met each other, he said.

          "Every kind of software will be redesigned to the core around XML," including the operating system and database as well as productivity and development tools, Gates said.

          Microsoft's .NET internet-based application services plan is built around XML, Gates said. ".NET is to the XML era as Windows was to the graphical era," said Gates.

          Gates also recognized Microsoft was late to the game in pursuing an internet computing strategy, but he declared the company is now "the most energetic" in its pursuit.

          The internet will require a variety of devices for access, including pocket and tablet-based PCs, Gates said. Earlier in the day, Gates participated in a demonstration of Microsoft's own Tablet PC system at the WinHEC 2001 conference in Anaheim, California.

          Gates also promoted collaboration capabilities in Microsoft's upcoming Windows XP operating system. A new beta of the OS was released on Monday.

          "Real-time communication and that kind of online support is actually built into the next generation of Windows, Windows XP," Gates said.

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