Microsoft head Bill Gates is raising the Internet hype bar to new heights, saying that the global network will make the PC the most powerful communications tool ever.
"I would go as far as to say that this revolution of the PC and the Internet is more important than the invention of the telephone, more important than the invention of the television," Gates told about 2000 Acer Group officials, partners and distributors, at the Taiwanese PC vendor's 20th anniversary celebration here this week.
The Internet will allow PC users to access information anywhere at any time, changing just about all aspects of people's lives, he says.
"It will reach out to every sphere of life -- the way we do business, the way we entertain, the way we elect political officials and even the way we learn," says Gates.
A sure sign that the change is well under way is the Internet's high visibility and the attention that the network is getting around the globe, he says.
"There is no country in the world that I visit today without the political leaders asking me how they can make sure that they are not left behind," says Gates.
Consequently, Microsoft has put the Internet at the very centre of its product development, and sees its forthcoming Internet Explorer 3.0 browser software as a major milestone in its Internet strategy, he says.
"We are very, very committed to Internet Explorer -- that's our primary competitive battle that we are in this year," says Gates, taking aim at Netscape and its runaway market-leading Navigator browser software.