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Gates Thinks Seamless And Secure

The Microsoft chairman outlined for Comdex attendees the software needed to access and share information across a variety of devices, and said security continues to be a pressing issue.

Bill Gates opened the Comdex trade show with an overview of product advances in security, spam, search, and Microsoft's latest "S" buzzword, seamless computing.

Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect on Sunday defined seamless computing as the ability to access and share information among many kinds of devices, from software-enabled wrist watches to new designs in cell phones and virtually any type of PC. He described the software needed to allow that connectivity as "the final level of infrastructure." XML, Web services, and communications capabilities to be delivered in Microsoft's next-generation Longhorn operating system are among the technologies that will enable seamless computing, he said.

Gates again acknowledged that improving security through higher-quality software and new products has become a pressing issue. In its most recent quarter, software licenses fell short of Microsoft's projections, which the company attributed to customer concerns about security issues. "There's been one clear message--we've really got to get the fundamentals right," Gates said.

Microsoft demonstrated for the first time a forthcoming tool for bolstering the security of business networks, the Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004. The server firewall software is scheduled for beta testing in January.

On the anti-spam front, Gates said Microsoft's SmartScreen technology, already being used in the company's MSN network, Hotmail service, and Outlook E-mail client, will be included "in the months ahead" in Exchange Server 2003. The technology will give system administrators more control over how they filter spam from business E-mail systems.

Microsoft also previewed information search and retrieval technology under development in its research division. Dubbed "Stuff I've Seen," the technology is intended to help users find previously accessed information that's stored in an application file, E-mail message, or Web page. The technology includes an "implicit query system" that organizes data even without a user's involvement. Microsoft gave no timeframe for when the search technology might appear in products.

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