In his Comdex keynote, Microsoft's chairman will introduce OneNote and announce release dates for .Net Server 2003, smart display devices.
Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp.s chairman and chief software architect, will use his keynote address at the Comdex Fall show in Las Vegas on Sunday night to introduce OneNote, the latest technology in the Office desktop productivity suite.
OneNote is a note-taking software application that allows users to capture, store and retrieve typewritten notes, pictures and diagrams on their laptop, desktop and Tablet PCs.
Gates will also announce that the Windows .Net Server 2003 family will be launched at an official event next April, more than a year later than initially hoped. In addition, he will tell Comdex attendees that the second release candidate of Windows .Net Server will be available in a few weeks, sources familiar with his keynote said.
Gates will also announce the official launch of the smart display devices based on its software currently code-named Mira at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 8.
David Jaffe, the lead product manager for Microsoft Office, told eWEEK that users have long wanted to be able to match the versatility of pen and paper with their computers. While paper lets people write and draw anywhere, it cannot be easily searched and there is no simple way to rearrange text, change bullet numbers or move a paragraph without erasing or creating a disorganized and difficult-to-read document.
"Microsoft OneNote tackles this challenge head-on and will enable people to take free-form notes as they would in a paper notebook by clicking and writing or typing anywhere on a page, while delivering the easy access, organization and search capabilities of digital technology.
With the tabbed interface, people can create and manage multiple notebooks," he said.
OneNote also has an auto-save feature that eliminates the problem of lost notes and always opens to the last page of text created. The search feature will scan across all notes taken to retrieve data, he said. The product will go into beta early next year and will be released around the middle of the year--the same time as the next Office upgrade, Office 11, and xDocs--but no decision has been made around pricing or whether it will be a component of Office 11 or a stand-alone product, Jaffe said.
OneNote will also be able to run on earlier versions of Windows based on the 9X code base, unlike Office 11, he confirmed.
The OneNote technology comes hot on the heels of last months announcement of XDocs, another new technology in the Office family. Microsoft officials are positioning this as a hybrid information-gathering tool for organizations that blends the benefits and richness of a traditional word processing program with the data capturing ability and rigor of a forms package.
With regard to the release of the Windows .Net server 2003, Bob OBrien, group product manager in the Windows .Net Product Management Group, said that while Microsoft expects many Windows 2000 server users to incrementally upgrade parts of their infrastructure to take advantage of the new functionality over time, it is focusing on those customers still running NT 4. "Those customers have a platform theyve been on for five to seven years. This is the platform theyve been waiting for, for the next generation of their IT infrastructure," he said.
The Data Center and Enterprise editions of the server family will have both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, and all the products will be delivered at the same time, OBrien said.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.
He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.
He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.
He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.
He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.
He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.
His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.
For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.