Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer sounded enthusiastic last week as he promoted his company's .net initiative, designed to turn the vendor's software into services delivered via the Internet.
He said the .net project, first made public in June, will have a full user interface by 2002 or 2003. "The goal absolutely is to get as quickly as we can to a Windows .net," he said.
Ballmer addressed the European IT Forum 2000 in Monaco via a satellite link.
".net is, in some sense, the future for Microsoft," said Ballmer. "Windows doesn't go away, the PC doesn't go away, but we needed a platform to reflect the reality of the Internet."
The .net platform, using Extensible Markup Language (XML) technology, is meant to allow developers to create their own applications running via the Internet on multiple platforms such as PCs, mobile devices and TVs.
Ballmer stressed that the .net "building blocks" will be accessible by other operating systems, as well as future versions of Windows. "We've always had a strong level of interoperability with non-Microsoft platforms," he said, prompting some chuckles in the audience.
".net's a big change; it's a new thing, it's a lot of work, it's a lot of effort," Ballmer said. "We have a future whether we succeed or not, but it's a lot more exciting future as we drive .net forward and really make it a fundamental platform for the future."