REDMOND, WASH.Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software
Architect Bill Gates today responded to critics who call his
company's .NET initiative incomplete and lacking innovation by
acknowledging that it will take at least four or five years before
the promise of .Net is realized.
".Net is not an overnight thing," Gates told 325 university
faculty members as he opened the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit
here. "A lot of work needs to be done to put standards such as
reliable messaging and transaction support in place. We have a
commitment to XML to allow for information exchange."
Gates' comments followed criticism last week from some IT managers and
analysts who said that Microsoft has failed to detail how .NET will
address issues such as scalability and transaction management that
are critical to enterprises.
While acknowledging that much work remains to be done on .NET,
Gates predicted the initiative will spawn profound innovation. "This
digital decade will herald some of the best tools of empowerment and
productivity the world has ever seen," Gates said. "We need to think
long-term and that includes investments in research and investments
in development. This is the greatest era for software ever."
Gates also reiterated his company's commitment to its Trustworthy
Computing initiative. Gates announced the Trustworthy Computing
Academic Advisory Board, a group of academic researchers that will
provide feedback on Microsoft product and policy issues surrounding
privacy, security and reliability.
Microsoft last week announced plans to invest $5.2 billion on
research and development. Many of the research projects taking place
at Microsoft are directed at the initiatives Gates outlined. Much of
Microsoft Research's .Net focus has been on work with distributed
computing, Global XML Web services architectures, and code quality
initiatives. As part of the Trustworthy Computing initiative, the
Microsoft Research Division has also contributed technology
components to Microsoft's ongoing security initiatives, said Rick
Rashid, senior vice president of research at Microsoft.
Microsoft Research (MSR) is working with Microsoft product groups
to get new technologies into commercial products, Rashid said.
Support for security technologies such as IPv6 and IPSEC in the next
version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, are a result of MSR work.
Besides the money Microsoft is pouring into internal research,
the company grants $75 million annually to academic research and
educational facilities worldwide. One of those academic research
organizations, Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, showed
off a project in which, using Windows source code, researchers were
able to implement IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) into Windows CE
.Net and Windows .Net Server. Microsoft has said software based on
that work is expected to appear in the next version of the Windows
CE .NET operating system due out this summer.
"The prospect of porting the IPv6 stack was challenging to us,"
said Andrew Scott, a professor in the computer science department at
Lancaster. "The successful implementation of IPv6 clearly
demonstrates the potential for rewarding innovating technology
transfer from academic research into business application."
And Benjamin Bederson, director of the human computer interaction
lab at the University of Maryland, demonstrated the DateLens
research project for mobile devices. The project enhanced the
calendar in the Windows CE interface so that it uses the .Net
Compact Framework, and is written entirely in C#.
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