I've been following Mix 06 virtually and am in the process of watching Bill Gates' webcast keynote. Check out the Virtual MIX for all the latest webcasts and news. In between all the buffering interruptions, I've managed to capture some early notes. I'll update this post later on today. Incidentally the latest build of IE7 is now available. Here are my notes so far of Bill Gates' speech:
His main theme is rich media across devices - and how Microsoft software is enabling this. Gates talked about two main aspects of this:
1) Experience thru the browser - IE7
2) "Beyond the browser" - phone, pc, media center, etc
As far as browser development goes, we can expect "substantial changes". Gates said that IE7 will be "substantially richer than ever before", because the need to make browsing a richer experience "is very very clear". So IE7 will be "a very significant release" according to Gates - in fact he even admitted that the development of IE over the past few years has been sub-par. He said it was a mea culpa and "we waited too long [...] expect to see us moving very very rapidly". Bill Gates assured the Mix crowd that IE7 "is not the end of the line". All I can say is: about bloody time! :-)
So what improvements can we expect to see in IE7:
1) streamlined UI (tabs, zoom, better preview)
2) better security
3) platform capabilities built into the browser (especially the feeds store in rss)
Gates said they're expecting heavy usage of IE7, which is probably the understatement of the year. Not only will it be integrated into Windows Vista, it will also be promoted heavily as free download to XP users.
Bill Gates had particular praise for RSS and its future role - "We think it's [rss] is very important" and rss use in Microsoft products is "going to skyrocket". He talked about how Rss is "the start of the programmable web" along with exposing apis. He referred to Microsoft building tools that will help with the messaging protocols that are central to the programmable web. Modularity is key - websites specialising in something, then being able to connnect together. Ray Ozzie is of course investigating this, with developments such as Live Clipboard.
Lastly for now, I was intrigued to hear Gates talk about the upcoming webification of Office 2007, which is one of the main things I've been exploring lately. Bill Gates talked about how, for example, some of excel's rich capabilities will be able to be viewed through a browser! I will be digging into this throughout the rest of the day. More later...
Flickr pic by hebig.