Microsoft's competitors for the enterprise will have a year-1999 problem, according to Bill Gates.
That is when Windows NT 5.0, Office 2000, and Component Object Model+ (COM+) are expected to ship.
By then, SQL Server 7.0, due out in November, will be entrenched in organisations, Gates said in a keynote speech that was broadcast during the Microsoft Developer Days 98 events around the US last week].
This means that 1999 will be a key year for Microsoft's push into the enterprise, Gates said in the address. And the glue holding that initiative together will be Visual Studio 6.0, the development tools suite that Microsoft released last week.
The development of rich applications that are tied to the Internet and are interoperable with a variety of platforms will mean that single-function jobs eventually will become obsolete. This could create a new class of knowledge workers, Gates said, whose catch-phrase for such an infrastructure is the "Digital Nervous System".
"The Digital Nervous System gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the talents of your employees and reach out to your customers," Gates said in his speech.
Greg Leake, Microsoft lead product manager, demonstrated Visual Studio's interoperability by linking together SQL Server 7.0, Oracle8, and Microsoft Access databases to create a single Web report.
Leake also showed off the suite's new ease-of-use features, such as IntelliSense, and ran through new debugging functionality in Visual InterDev and Visual Basic.
In addition, Leake demonstrated how developers will be able to build more Web-centric Office-based applications.
Visual Studio 6.0 consists of Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++ 6.0, Visual J++ 6.0, Visual FoxPro 6.0, and Visual InterDev 6.0.