Gates: Microsoft Poised for Growth

Bill Gates sees good times ahead for the high-tech industry, with Microsoft at the forefront.

REDMOND, Wash.—The long-term outlook for the high-tech industry is good, and Microsoft Corp. will be at the forefront of it, according to Chief Software Architect and Chairman Bill Gates.

Speaking at the companys annual financial analyst meeting here Thursday, Gates said Microsofts position in the enterprise was strengthening, due to its server capabilities and leading tools and operating system focus.

SQL Server 2000 has been leading the way, as has Windows XP, which has now sold 46 million licenses, Gates told about 300 financial analysts, investors and journalists.

Microsoft saw some "remarkable successes in 2002" despite tough economic times, he said, adding that "Web services are gaining broad appeal … and WS-I [the Web services interoperability organization] now has more than 100 members and Microsofts Visual Studio .Net is now deploying all kinds of Web services applications."

In fiscal 2003, Microsoft will release Windows .Net Server, for which the company released Windows .Net Server Release Candidate 1 Wednesday, Windows Media 9 series, Windows XP Media Center edition, MSN 8, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows CE for Smart Displays and an update of Visual Studio .Net, Xbox Live, and new Xbox games.

Gates said the Yukon wave will center on the next major release of Microsoft SQL Server, and further out the Longhorn wave will focus on the next major release of Windows.

Meanwhile, Paul Flessner, Microsofts senior vice president of the Enterprise Server Group, said at a time when database sales are either flat or decreasing, Microsoft SQL Server achieved more than 20 percent growth year over year.

Indeed, Microsoft plans to make considerable investments to ensure its products continue to do well in the market, he said. In the coming year, Microsoft will invest 22 percent more in server salespeople, 15 percent in the amount spent on account managers, and 47 percent more in developer salespeople.