Gates Focuses on Microsoft's Future at Analysts Meeting

REDMOND, WASHINGTON (07/27/2000) - True to his new role as Microsoft Corp.'s chief software architect, Bill Gates today delved deeply into source code and application development tools while outlining the company's future to a roomful of Wall Street analysts.

Gates explained the inner workings of XML, the basis for the Internet-based .Net computing strategy that Microsoft announced last month. He also showed source-code outputs and even keyed XML tags into a document to show how the technology will improve the integration between Windows and Web-based applications.

One specific area in which Microsoft expects to see improved integration will come with its planned release of Office 2000, which is slotted for next year.

The upgrade will include a feature called WebParts, which uses XML to link Office 2000 clients to online catalogs of .Net-based computing services. Howard Crow, a Microsoft product manager, said a list of WebParts developed by both the company and third-party software developers will be posted on Microsoft's Web site.

One financial analyst in attendance, who asked not to be identified, said the presentation by Gates "was a bit techie for me." But Gates continually returned to his developer theme, repeating many of the comments he made at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference earlier this month (see story).

Gates said it's "most important" for Microsoft to convince software developers to adopt VisualStudio.Net, a promised upgrade of the company's set of development tools that was released in a beta test version at the Professional Developers Conference. VisualStudio.Net is due out next year as the first product to be released under the .Net strategy, according to Microsoft.

However, Brian Valentine, a senior vice president at Microsoft, disagreed with Gates on the top priority facing the company. Valentine said the "No. 1 issue" for Microsoft is to make Windows 2000 the operating system of choice for business users, which he admitted isn't the case right now.

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