COMDEX: Gates Touts New Mouse

Bill Gates has opened the Comdex Spring '99 exposition with flair and forgiveness by announcing the introduction of a wireless mouse and by bringing back the man whose demonstration of Windows 98 froze during last year's expo. The Microsoft CEO also trumpeted the need for quicker and easier access to the Internet for more users.

Bill Gates opened the Comdex Spring '99 exposition here with flair and forgiveness by announcing the introduction of a wireless mouse and by bringing back the man whose demonstration of Windows 98 froze during last year's expo.

The Microsoft CEO also trumpeted the need for quicker and easier access to the Internet for more users. With 100 million personal computers sold this year, more and more people are seeking to learn about the Internet, he said.

Students doing their homework, citizens using public kiosks to access public documents, and families organizing their own networks will make Internet use commonplace, he said. Businesses are also retooling their operations to adjust to the Internet. All these users are looking for faster and easier access to the Internet, he said.

"Over the next five years, the connectivity bottleneck will be solved," Gates said. "It's about Internet connectivity. We need to adjust to what we refer to as the 'web lifestyle'," he said.

Gates introduced a new, wireless mouse that uses sensors to record images. A sensor placed on the bottom of the mouse "will take 1,500 pictures a second to determine which direction the mouse is moving in," Gates said.

The mouse eliminates the need for a wire or a pad and can be used on multiple surfaces, including a user's arm or a leg, Gates said.

Designed with an enclosed case, the mouse will no longer be subject to malfunctions because of exposure to dirt. Shipments of the mouse are scheduled to start in September.

After the failure of the Windows 98 demo during Gates' speech at last year's Comdex, "a lot of people asked what happened to that guy (who operated the demonstration)," Gates said.

To the strains of the disco song "I Will Survive," Gates introduced Microsoft employee Chris Capossela. "After 365 days of practice, it works," Capossela said as the demo and hookup functioned properly.

Microsoft, in Redmond, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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