Gates: Originality, work with government will revive industry

Gates: Originality, work with government will revive industry

LAS VEGAS'Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the opening keynoter at the Comdex trade show here, said the computer industry could get its momentum back by innovating in new areas, as Microsoft Corp. has done with its Xbox game console.

'The magic of the chip, the magic of software, is spreading out to new areas in different ways,' he said, predicting a shift from personal computers to truly personal computing that's available wherever people need it.

Besides branching out into new areas, industry needs to work with government to develop a trustworthy computing infrastructure, Gates said. He called security development one of the most disappointing areas of the past year, saying that industry leaders don't know enough about laws and regulations and that a government-industry partnership would be the quickest way to improve security. Once users can trust the systems and devices they work with, other technologies can be developed to share information, he said.

Another disappointing area this year was broadband service, he said, because broadband is not as fast as it should be, even though prices have started to rise.

Gates praised the Dell Axim X5 and Compaq iPaq i910 handheld computers as examples of powerful new systems at low prices. In the area of wireless connectivity, Gates said a new wireless network access point Microsoft is developing could automatically detect all Internet settings and create a secure wireless infrastructure without any user intervention.

He predicted that within a few years, every desktop system would have at least a terabyte of storage capacity and that portable storage devices such as the popular Universal Serial Bus key chain would hold hundreds of gigabytes.

Gates said Microsoft next summer will launch a new version of Microsoft Office, with features such as Xdocs for access to Extensible Markup Language data, and Microsoft One Note, which is an artificial intelligence data-gathering tool.

At the end of his speech, Gates unveiled a new device called Smart Personal Object Technology, or SPOT, in several shapes and sizes including miniature key chains, refrigerator magnets and alarm clocks. Each could be programmed to display information such as real-time stock quotes, sports scores or business data, he said. He did not go into detail about how the information would reach the devices.

As for getting the IT market going again, 'We need to create tools that can be used anywhere, anytime on any device,' Gates said.

About the Authors

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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