September detailed goals that Microsoft will work toward, including two far-off projects called Wintone and Megaserver.
In the 14-page "food for thought" memo, titled "The Era Ahead," Gates stressed product integration and predicted 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 included a paragraph on Wintone -- or Windows Tone, because Gates referred to it two different ways -- which "is the idea that customers can rely on Microsoft more for managing and updating their PC," according to a company representative.
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 representative said. "They are going to have the latest technology at their fingertips whenever they use it."
The Megaserver would spin from the Web e-mail model that allows users to send and receive e-mail on any computer that has Internet access, Gates wrote.
A gigantic Internet server, not unlike a mainframe, the Megaserver would allow any type of information to be available to a user from any computer, television set-top box, palm-size PC, Auto PC, or other device.
Timing on either project has yet to be determined, according to Microsoft officials.