Gates: 'XML could be everything we dreamed...'

The big man speaks his mind in London...
Written by Joey Gardiner, Contributor

The big man speaks his mind in London...

Bill Gates outlined his vision for the future of XML-based web services to a packed conference crowd in London today and fought back against claims the platform is expensive and insecure. Talking at the Microsoft developer conference at the London Metropole Hotel this morning, Gates said he owed the web services vision to the development of XML. "If it didn't exist we would have had to write it. Three years ago when we decided to go with XML there were no guarantees it would be picked up by industry. "I'm not sure people realise what a big bet we made. But now everything we dreamed might be possible is starting to be realised," he said. Gates also defended the .NET platform when questions were voiced from the floor querying its security. He attempted to distance Microsoft further from the perception it was angling to get hold of users' personal data: "What we're not talking about is a future where Microsoft is an ultimate storage farm holding all this information in one location - that's what the federated model means," he said. But Gates' choice of examples to illustrate this may have inadvertently added to concerns over governments' use of .NET. "Your tax data will be in a different place than your health data. With .NET, security is built in to the architecture - with things like role-based permissions. We're talking about a platform where the user is in total control." Microsoft faces concerns - mainly focused around its authentication engine Passport - from many quarters that its .NET platform endangers users' privacy. Gates is also meeting with Health Secretary Alan Milburn and NHS Trust executives today to outline ways in which Microsoft can help the healthcare sector.
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