A forward-looking e-mail from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to about 200 Microsoft executives details goals the software giant will work toward, including two far-off projects called Wintone and Megaserver.
In the "food for thought" memo, titled "The era ahead" Gates stresses integration and predicts what some current phenomena, such as wireless connectivity, will look like years from now. The memo could be viewed as a signal from Gates to the US Department of Justice, which sued the software giant on antitrust charges that include many issues related to integration, that he intends to forge ahead.
The memo includes a paragraph on Wintone - or Windows Tone, since Gates spelled it two different ways - which "is the idea that customers can rely on Microsoft more for managing and updating their PC", a company representative said last week.
Essentially, the consumer-oriented Wintone would mark the evolution of the Windows Update feature in Windows 98. Windows Update gives users a one-step connection to the Microsoft Web site, which evaluates the computer and makes recommendations for upgrades, bug fixes, and other updates. The service would be available on a subscription basis.
"It is the idea that, with an Internet connection, people can basically rely on the machine and know they can get updates," the Microsoft representative said. "They are going to have the latest technology at their fingertips whenever they use it."