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Microsoft Unveils Vision for Next Generation Internet

REDMOND – Signaling a new era of personal empowerment and business
opportunity for consumers, businesses and software developers, Microsoft
Corp. today unveiled the vision and road map for its next generation of
software and services, the Microsoft .NET platform. Capitalizing on the
explosion of Internet-based computing and communications, Microsoft .NET
(pronounced “dot-net”) will provide easier, more personalized and more
productive Internet experiences by harnessing constellations of smart
devices and Web sites with advanced software through Internet protocols and

This new family of Microsoft .NET products and technologies replaces the
previous working title of Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) and
includes software for developers to build next-generation Internet
experiences as well as power a new breed of smart Internet devices.
Microsoft also announced plans for new products built on the .NET platform,
including new generations of the Microsoft Windows® operating system,
Windows DNA servers, Microsoft Office, the MSN network of Internet services
and the Visual Studio® development system.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who in January also became chief software
architect in order to devote himself fully to this effort, said today that
Microsoft and industry partners will pioneer the “Next Generation Internet”
through software that breaks down today’s barriers between “digital
islands” — computers, devices, Web sites, organizations and industries —
to help realize the full potential of the Internet.

“The impact of the Internet has been spectacular to date, but the pace of
innovation will accelerate over the next five years,” Gates said. “Our goal
is to move beyond today’s world of standalone Web sites to an Internet of
interchangeable components where devices and services can be assembled into
cohesive, user-driven experiences.”

Through a series of customer scenarios and technology demonstrations,
Microsoft executives showcased new software technologies and underscored
four key principles guiding the new .NET platform:

Improved User Experience Puts People in Control — .NET will give users a
more productive and purposeful experience through greater user control over
personal information and preferences, new user interface technologies, a new
breed of smart Internet devices, and the ability to harness multiple devices
and services toward a common goal. As the Internet becomes more personal,
consumers will want software that enables them to define and control
privacy. Microsoft is building innovative privacy technology into the
foundation of Microsoft’s next-generation software, including Microsoft
Passport, providing customers with control of their Internet experience.
Microsoft will host a personal Information Agent that will deliver consumers
the ability to access, view, edit and delete the personal information that
they enter at various sites. Additionally, Microsoft is incorporating
privacy-enabling technologies based on the P3P specification into
Microsoft’s next-generation operating systems.

Ease of Use/Simplicity — .NET facilitates the continuous delivery of
software to customers via a distributed computing model for the Internet
that uniquely exploits the abundance of both computing and communications.

Internet Standards — .NET is based on Internet protocols and standards for
interactions between devices and services, and in particular relies on the
Extensible Markup Language (XML).

Business Integration and Opportunity – .NET creates opportunities for
millions of developers not only to build Internet services and businesses
more easily, but also to integrate those offerings directly with business
partners and customers.

“Our guiding principles have always been about empowering individuals and
creating opportunities for the industry. We are now taking that strategy to
a new level by building a new platform based on Internet standards, which
makes computing and communications easier for everyone,” Gates said.

“Today’s Internet experience can be confusing and difficult, with a jumble
of applications, Web pages and devices, none of which work with one another
on your behalf,” Gates said. “With the emergence of standards like XML, we
now have the opportunity to revolutionize the way computers talk to one
another on our behalf just as the browser changed the way we interact with

Introducing the .NET Platform

Gates today announced the new .NET platform, consisting of the following

.NET User Experience. A new set of technologies for building next-generation
user experiences, including the new Universal Canvas XML-based compound
information architecture, natural user interface, integral digital media
support, privacy-enabling technologies for management and control of
personal information, and the new Dynamic Delivery system for secure and
seamless installation, updates, roaming and offline operation.

.NET Infrastructure and Tools. An implementation of the new XML-based
programming model helps developers build, deliver, integrate, operate and
federate Web services. Visual Studio 7.0, a new version of the world’s most
popular developer toolset, will provide comprehensive, high-productivity
support for XML-based Web service development, including the 50 percent of
the world’s developers who use the Visual Basic® development system. The new
BizTalkT Orchestration tool dramatically simplifies business process
integration over the Internet. The .NET Infrastructure and Tools build off
the XML-enabled family of Windows DNA 2000 servers.

.NET Building Block Services. A new family of highly distributed,
programmable developer services that run across standalone machines, in
corporate data centers and across the Internet. Services include Identity,
Notification and Messaging, Personalization, Schematized Storage, Calendar,
Directory, Search and Software Delivery. These services bring together
elements of Windows technology with Internet-based Microsoft services such
as Passport, the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, MSN Messenger and
MSN Communities to deliver a truly distributed set of building blocks for
developers to use in their own products whether they are programming for a
single machine or across the Internet. Different instances of these services
can cooperate and exchange information through a process called federation,
which allows organizations to decide whether to run their own infrastructure
or host it externally without compromising their control or access to
services across the Internet or when offline.

.NET Device Software. An array of software to power a new breed of smart
Internet-connected devices that can take maximum advantage of the .NET
platform and fully participate in next-generation user experiences.
Microsoft will deliver new versions of Windows supporting the .NET platform
technologies that maintain and extend the PC’s role as an optimum way to
take full advantage of the Internet. This software will XML-enable any
device, support intelligent interaction with the network and .NET services
and serve as a foundation to bring .NET User Experience technologies to
non-PC devices such as Pocket PCs, set-top boxes, cellular phones and game

The .NET platform breaks new ground in terms of using Internet standards
such as XML to link systems together; its commitment to improving both the
user and the developer experience; the introduction of the first highly
distributed services architecture for the Internet; and applications
transparency across local machines, corporate data centers and Internet
services through the process of federation.

New Opportunity for Developers, Partners, Customers

Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer outlined the new opportunities
.NET will create for developers and partners and highlighted the support of
leading technology partners.

“The Internet revolution must now move to its next stage: ensuring that the
ocean of information and resources that is out there actually work
together,” Ballmer said. “By creating a unified platform through which
devices and services cooperate with each other, Microsoft will unleash a new
wave of developer opportunity and creativity that will move us to a level of
power and simplicity.”

Ballmer addressed some specific examples of who will benefit in the new era.
“A shift of this magnitude has huge revenue potential,” Ballmer said, citing
examples of traditional partners who will expand their applications to take
advantage of new devices; customers who will programmatically expose their
Web services to enhance customer service and develop new revenue sources;
and new types of partners with creative ideas for how to enhance the
Internet experience with automated, interactive Web services. “This new
computing era will see a shift from people interacting with single devices
to software serving people according to their individual preferences. Web
developers are the key players who will drive that transformation.”

Microsoft .NET Products and Services

In addition to these core underlying platform technologies, Microsoft will
also offer a selection of .NET experiences for individual audiences. They
include the following:

Windows.NET. Windows.NET is the next generation of Windows. Windows.NET will
be a product that supports productivity, creativity, management,
entertainment and much more, and is designed to put users in control of
their digital lives. It incorporates new .NET user experience technologies,
is tightly integrated with .NET building block services including identity
and search and provides integrated support for digital media. Windows.NET
will be self-supporting, featuring services that provide ongoing support and
updates as users need them. Windows.NET will provide a rich foundation for
developers who want to create new .NET applications and services. It will
offer a programmable user experience that can be customized by corporations
and individuals and programmed by .NET services including MSN.NET, bCentralT
for .NET and Office.NET, as well as a host of third-party .NET services. The
first release of Windows to incorporate .NET elements is scheduled to be
available in 2001. Microsoft will also continue to offer support for
versions of the Windows platform without .NET services.

MSN.NET. MSN.NET will deliver the first consumer user experience for the
next generation Internet. By combining the leading content and services of
MSN with the new .NET platform, MSN.NET will allow consumers to create a
single digital personality and use smart services to ensure consistent,
seamless and safe access to the information, entertainment and people they
care about any time, any place and on any device. MSN.NET will build on a
new integrated client, currently in beta, that brings together the best of
MSN dynamic Web services, content, the .NET building block services and .NET
device support to deliver a complete, integrated consumer experience. MSN
will offer superior access to content and services from third-party
developers and the broadest range of devices based on the opportunities
afforded from the .NET platform.

Consumer Subscription Services. In addition to the MSN.NET consumer
offering, Microsoft also plans to build a set of premium .NET services to
offer a wide range of consumer-oriented services building on the .NET
platform. These services will build on existing Microsoft consumer software
in the area of entertainment, games, education and productivity. These
services will give people the power of traditional desktop applications with
the flexibility, integration and roaming support of the new .NET family of
user experiences.

Office.NET. Microsoft announced Office.NET, a future productivity and
communications service designed to meet the needs of 21st century knowledge
workers. The Office.NET experience will deliver major new innovations to
benefit customers in four areas. A new natural user interface will
streamline how customers interact with the service. A new architecture,
based on smart clients and services, will provide rich functionality,
performance and automatic deployments. Universal collaboration services will
enable anyone to collaborate with people inside and outside their companies.
Office.NET services will extend any time, any place and on any device, along
with personalization capabilities to enable a new level of freedom and
control. Over time these technologies will be incorporated into a number of
Microsoft services.

bCentral for .NET. Microsoft will significantly expand the bCentral small
business portal, its small-business user experience, with several
cutting-edge services built on the .NET platform. The expanded services
include Outlook® Web services, enhanced commerce services and a new customer
relationship management (CRM) service. Outlook Web services, built with .NET
building block services, will provide browser-based messaging, calendaring
and personal Information Agent features through the familiar Outlook
interface and a Web folder for storing files and accessing them remotely.
The enhanced commerce and customer management services will enable small
business customers to better serve their customers online. Functionality is
scheduled to include support for rich hosted catalogs and the ability to
track interactions with customers to enable personalized service. These
expanded services are scheduled to be made available broadly through
Microsoft bCentral later this year.

Visual Studio.NET is an XML-based programming model and rapid application
development tool that is fully supported by the MSDN developer service and
Windows DNA 2000 servers. Visual Studio.NET enables the easy delivery of
highly distributed, programmable services that run across standalone
machines, in corporate data centers and across the Internet.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business
computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed
to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any

Earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson stayed
all remedies that he outlined in his final judgment on June 7 in the
government’s antitrust case against Microsoft, pending resolution of the
entire appeal.

“We’re obviously very pleased that the District Court has rejected the
government’s arguments and decided to stay the entire judgment pending
appeal,” said Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray. “This action will allow the
appeal to go forward without unnecessary disruption to consumers and the
high-tech industry, and we are confident that the final judgment will be
reversed on appeal.”

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