Windows-based 'nervous system' hides Microsoft insecurities

Australian governments and businesses are taking good advantage of Internetand digital technologies, according to Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Speaking toenterprise customers and journalists during a two-day visit to Australia,Gates unveiled his vision of a "digital nervous system", a technologicalecosystem relying on fully connected PCs and integrated software. In thatecosystem, users benefit more as the technology is more utilised. He pointedto the example of a corporate e-mail system, where the company as a wholebenefits only when all users are connected and use the technology.

Gates said that Australian governments and businesses had recognised thisand were using the technology to benefit customers and citizens directly andindirectly. In particular he pointed to initiatives by the Victorian andSouth Australian governments as well as the commonwealth government'sinquiry management system. He said "how you manage information determineswhether you win or lose".

At the core of the nervous system, in Gates' vision, is the Windowsplatform. He again tried to sell the scalability of Windows, from CE-basedtechnologies such as WebTV and Palm PC through Win95-based Net PCs, desktopPCs and symmetric multi-processing server farms based on NT. Speaking to thepress for almost an hour, he easily fielded questions ranging from technicalaspects of LDAP to personal queries about how he has been affected bysuccess. He only seemed flustered when asked about his company's approach toJava or allegations of monopolistic practises.