Gates on technology's future

Summary:Frankfurt, Germany -- Bill Gates repeated Microsoft Corp.'s stated strategy of focusing on its Windows, Backoffice and Office products while moving forward on Internet capabilities, manageability and scalability.

Frankfurt, Germany -- Bill Gates repeated Microsoft Corp.'s stated strategy of focusing on its Windows, Backoffice and Office products while moving forward on Internet capabilities, manageability and scalability.

Windows 98 would be a simple upgrade of Windows 95 that would eventually be superseded by a Windows NT version 5.0 aimed at both the desktop and server segments, he said.

While he outlined no spectacular future for Java, Gates said computer technology would dramatically streamline business operations.

"The opportunity to use computer technology has never been greater and it will allow business to run much better," he said.

Companies that make E-mail their standard mode of communication have an advantage because they can react much faster to unplanned events such as project delays, and pricing or product moves by competitors.

"You can gather information and bring together people from different locations and even from other companies like business partners to find a solution as soon as possible," he said. "Collaborators could pull together a new plan and respond within 24 hours."

Using computer technology as a corporate digital nervous system could also enable companies to eliminate vast amounts of paper from their business processes, he said. An internal survey at Microsoft last year found that the company used 400 paper forms -- today it has six.

He also praised Dell Computer Corp. for its booming web based sales system.

"This takes sales that would have taken place anyway but makes them much more efficient. It's also a way for Dell to reach buyers who would not have found them in the first place," Gates said.

Topics: Windows, Dell, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software

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