Bill Gates predicts a collaborative future

Bill Gates is singing the praises of creating applications for PCs based on the open standards of the Internet.

Bill Gates is singing the praises of creating applications for PCs based on the open standards of the Internet. "Microsoft's largest investment will be in interoperability," Gates says. "That's what people want so that's what has got to be done."

Gates was speaking a New Orleans conference of Computer Associates' software users at which he also announced a partnership with CA which essentially will integrate CA's enterprise management solution Unicenter TNG with Internet Explorer 3.0, enabling users to manage servers, PCs, applications and networks across any platform through the Explorer browser front end. Unicenter TNG will also build in support for ActiveX controls and Microsoft's WolfPack clustering technologies for Windows NT.

The joint enterprise management technology will be the first to implement the HMMS and HMMP standard protocols which unify diverse enterprise management applications under a common Internet-based schema.

Gates says that software vendors should model their products on the path that hardware vendors have taken: the open business structure of the hardware platforms today has caused engineers to develop inovative machines that keep moving the pace of technology forward. This sort of tremendous development, such as the Intel Pentium Pro processor, came about from basing hardware development on open standards, says Gates, who would like to see software development go in the same direction.

Hardware vendors and the software vendors will collaborate more and more in the Internet in future as machines get faster, software gets more robust and efforts such as Gigabit Ethernet make the Internet more accessible, he says.

Demonstrating Internet Explorer 3.0, as well as an alpha version of 4.0 which is due out in January 1997, Gates told the crowd that browsers will become the operating systems of the future, allowing users to access all applications and files through the Web interface. He says that Microsoft's goal with Windows NT is to offer it as a server that does all things -- email, transactions, file serving etc. In the next release of NT, Gates says users could expect to see support for clustering and directory services in a 64-bit environment.

Pitching the idea to business people in the audience that the Internet is key to business in the next decade and beyond, Gates says that "it doesn't go too far to say that a generation growing up today expects everything to be online. Still, it will take a decade before a broad set of people see the Internet as an integral part of their lives," Gates says.

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