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Microsoft leaks its own memos

Bill Gates has been telling his staff what the future holds, and his PRs have been telling the press

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Previous Bill Gates memos have reached the outside world via leaks and subpoenas - so has Microsoft decided to bow to the inevitable by leaking one officially? A 'business as usual' 10,000 word pep talk to the troops has found its way into today's New York Times, the text being given to the paper on condition that it doesn't quote from it directly. According to the NYT the tone is upbeat, and the memo skips the lawsuits entirely, showing Bill blue-skying away in his new role of technologist/visionary. Day-to-day operations at Microsoft are now handled by company president Steve Ballmer and COO Bob Herbold, so the lawsuits are their bag, and Bill's role is looking after its security and growth way, way into the future. The memo names the standard quartet of rival companies Microsoft has to carry on beating off, IBM, Oracle, Netscape and Sun, but there's a new group as well. Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Psion can congratulate themselves on having, via their Symbian smart-phone/personal communicator alliance, made it onto Bill's radar screen. To tackle this ever-swelling band of rivals in ever-widening fields, Gates has come up with a number of initiatives: Ease of use He accepts that the addition of features to Windows has made it increasingly awkward to use, but in a classic piece of 'BillVision' he says many of the problems are caused by the products other companies write for the Windows platform. These pesky developers seem not to be doing enough of what Microsoft tells them to do, so they're going to need tougher rules. Microsoft is going to issue more rigid rules and guidelines for outside software developers - ISVs, you have been warned. Owning the dialtone Cast your mind back to some of the things Microsoft was planning for the Microsoft Network (MSN) three years ago. They're back, considerably enhanced, in the shape of a proposed service called Wintone. This seems to be take two of Microsoft's stalled plan to blur the corporate Windows network and its back-up and management techniques into the rest of the world. Wintone will offer users data management services across the Internet, and will include automatic backup and software updates. It's a characteristically Gates idea - it steals concepts wholesale from numerous companies, Oracle's Business Online being one of the more obvious current ones, and maims them before sticking them back together again in a different, Microsoft order. Megaserver This is a relation of Wintone. If Microsoft is looking after everybody's data and allowing them to access it from anywhere in the world (this one swiped from Sun and Novell, among others), it's going to need a lot of storage. We'd presume an unfortunate side-effect of this will be that Microsoft will wind up competing with mega-storage outfits like EMC. More new file systems Gates says the operating system will increasingly control piracy and intellectual property theft by tracking the use of information. Microsoft has been allegedly moving towards common industry file systems of late, but if it's going to track changes, then these are going to have to be 'enhanced.' ® Click for more stories

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