Microsoft looks to 'PC Plus' for the future

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates addressed a group of financial analysts this week in Seattle, laying out his plans for Microsoft's future as it moves from a purely PC-based strategy to one that embraces upcoming non-PC devices as well. Touting amazing news gains in Microsoft Research's advanced user interface studies, Gates told of future devices that would know which user was sitting in front of the computer and act accordingly.

"\[Video\] cameras will recognize who is there using the PC," said Gates, demonstrating an early prototype.

Gates also discussed new trends in PC design, such as smaller footprint devices that are simply upgraded.

"Neat colors seem to be the new thing," Gates said, as he showed off a PC prototype. "Apple is providing leadership in colors. It won't take us long to catch up with that. They made a big mistake with the iBook. It only has two colors."

Gates says that integrated phones will be a standard feature in PCs soon, and that people will need to have a single address that works for phone, email, and fax. This address should follow the person around as needed, so that physical location becomes unimportant. Gates call this the "PC Plus" era.

"The PC Plus Era will empower people through great software, any time, any place, and on any device," Gates said.

In the home, Gates has extended his vision of "a PC in every home" to "a PC in every room in the home." Microsoft will be focusing heavily on home networking in upcoming versions of Consumer Windows, including Millennium and Neptune.

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