"Blocking out all gloomy thoughts of a court-ordered breakup, on
Thursday, Microsoft (MSFT) finally unveiled its much-anticipated
plan to transform itself from a desktop leader to an Internet
software company. he plan, formerly called Next Generation Windows
Services, has a new name, "Dot-Net," and is being propelled by a
simple market realization: If Microsoft doesn't produce software
for the non-Windows world, then it won't survive in the emerging
"...it could be a hard sell. At the company's conference center
in Redmond, Wash., Microsoft executives struggled to promote their
abstract vision of Dot-Net as a "platform for the Internet." They
showed videos that looked like beautifully shot Hollywood movies
burdened with weak plot lines and heavy product placement. Handsome
actors played citizens of the future, leading brightly-lit lives
and executing complex transactions and interactions from their cell
phones, PCs and handheld computers."
"I think we underwhelmed you," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
after one demo. Later, when both Ballmer and Microsoft chairman
Bill Gates separately cited Napster and Gnutella as examples of the
type of powerful Web services to expect in the future, it only
served as a reminder that real innovation has not been coming from
giant software companies of late."
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