NEW YORK (CNNfn) - As Microsoft unveiled Windows 2000 to the waiting computer world Thursday, Chairman Bill Gates stressed that the new operating system would meet the needs of the most powerful new tool in business - the Internet.|
Gates told the Moneyline News Hour that a priority for his company was ensuring that Windows 2000, "is the best platform for the Internet."
"Having great software that lets your people see digital information, lets them collaborate, lets you build a great Web site, that's going to be very, very important for all companies going forward," Gates told Moneyline co-anchor Stuart Varney. "And Windows 2000 is the key platform where that starts."
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But the chairman's enthusiasm is not as evident in the business community that Gates hopes will see the need for the new OS.
Many information technology executives, who tend to be risk-averse, want to wait several months before upgrading their systems to Windows 2000 so they can discover potential bugs in the new operating system and compatibility problems with their existing applications.
For Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) the stakes surrounding Windows 2000 are huge. Microsoft plans to launch an entire new generation of products based on the Windows 2000 platform. Securities analysts estimate that the software publisher derives about 40 percent of its revenue from Windows products. In its earnings report for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1999, Microsoft disclosed that sales of Windows operating systems were sluggish because of "soft corporate demand for PCs and software combined with the expected slowness of demand for Windows NT Server and Windows NT Workstation in anticipation of the launch of Windows 2000."
While Gates is well aware of how crucial the Internet has become to business, he did not agree that security on the Web had reached a crisis with the recent denial-of-service attacks.
"There are some architecture changes that need to be made," Gates said. But he added that those responsible would most likely be "tracked down," which would be a great deterrent to those seeking to attack the Net in the future. Gates said that he has been involved in a dialogue about security with the government.
Of course security dialogues aren't the only interaction the Microsoft chairman has had with the government -- the software giant is the focus of an antitrust action by the U.S. Department of Justice. But Gates said that the government is wrong in targeting a sector of the economy that has succeeded so well in meeting the needs of consumers.
"If there's any part of the economy that's delivered for all the citizens, it's got to be the work that we and our partners in our industry have done," Gates said.
And despite the mounting legal obstacles facing Microsoft, Gates said that neither government action nor desire for a good public image has not in any way affected the company's innovation, or its desire to serve customers who demand better products.
"I never expected Microsoft to be so successful," Gates said. "We're not ashamed that we've taken the low-price, high-volume approach here, which is different than the competitors, who are trying to get a leg-up from the government."
Click here to read a transcript of the Moneyline interview