Bill Gates gave Internet World attendees a sales pitch on Microsoft's intranet strategy in a keynote speech, delivered via satellite, to the trade show being held here this week.
The Microsoft head also announced the May beta release of Internet Explorer 3.0. The software will be available in mid-June for Windows 95 and NT 4.0, with Windows 3.1 and Macintosh versions to follow at an unspecified date, Microsoft officials say. Java support will be available in the Windows versions.
"We see Java as a great development tool," says Gates, "and it will become a first-class programming language in the near future."
The announcement follows the this week release of Internet Explorer 2.0 for Windows 3.1 and Macintosh, which expands the company's browser offering beyond the 32-bit Windows 95 platform. This version of the browser will also offer support for International Extensions that allow users to view Web pages in several different languages, including those using the Greek, Japanese, Korean and Cyrillic alphabets.
The newest version of Microsoft's integrated suite of server products, BackOffice Server 2.0 -- also released this week -- will be the backbone of corporate intranets running on Windows NT, says Gates. The server suite which contains Microsoft Exchange Server 4.0 and the Microsoft Internet Information Server 1.0, will allow users to combine groupware applications with traditional database systems.
On the content authoring side, Gates has announce the release of FrontPage 1.1, a tool for creating Web and intranet applications without the use of programming or HTML code.