Bill Gates and Jim Allchin update financial analysts on Microsoft's activities.
REDMOND, Wash.While the technology industry experienced a boom in the late 1990s that is unlikely to be repeated again during his lifetime, there are a number of exciting challenges ahead, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said Thursday.
Addressing a group of financial analysts and media at the Microsoft campus here, Gates said he is excited about and focused on six big things going forward.
"Management capability; integrated storage; our new Windows File System [WinFS], which will draw on the file system and database expertise including rich search; a workflow that allows business processes to be drawn up in an easy way; business intelligence that builds in the XML platform; model-based programming; and speech-language and the natural-based interface are all things Im excited about," he said.
Many of these things will show up in releases before the next major Windows upgrade, code-named Longhorn. "We do not yet know the timeframe for Longhorn, but it will involve a lot of innovative and exciting work.
"There will be major advances in the user interface Web services will be built in as part of the interface," Gates said. "Longhorn will be built around scenarios, and making these as easy as possible. Longhorn is not just a release of the Windows client, but it will also involve Office and our server products. Everything at Microsoft is built on and designed to take advantage of that."
Addressing the debate about whether IT is still important, Gates argued that it is. Software is dependent on the vast improvements taking place in hardware. "Despite the general atmosphere here, the hardware advances are coming full speed, like the move from 32-bit to 64-bit. We have the empowerment coming through wireless. Everything is getting less expensive and more capable and accessible. Our partnerships with the hardware vendors remain very strong," he said.
Microsofts special activity is software breakthroughs. This includes the Internet with Web services; a dynamic datacenter and desktop management software; monitoring and feedback tools; unlocking business information; Trustworthy Computing; and better e-mail with sharing.
"We want your work and personal e-mail to be available to you at the same time. So weve been working on taking Outlook and linking it up to the back-end Hotmail system," Gates said. "We have developed the Microsoft Outlook Connector for MSN, which will show up in MSN 9.0, due for release later this year. It allows users to communicate with everyone from the Outlook client, which also has full offline support."
A preview of Outlook Connector was shown, which will use Outlook to manage both work and personal accounts simultaneously from the MSN and Exchange servers. E-mails from a personal Hotmail or MSN account can be dragged into Outlook, involving both the MSN and Outlook servers.
New MSN sharing functionality with the next version of MSN will also allow people to share information on their work and personal calendars with others using MSN.
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.