Speed is good. More speed is even better. Anybody looking at Ecommerce will understand Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' addiction to speed. Gates told the world last week that his company's future depends on speed. Higher speed access to the Internet is essential to Ecommerce, to encourage people to buy over the Net and firms to use it for business transactions.
Seeing this, Gates has been busily using his billions to build fatter pipes for Internet access. He's been doing this by taking stakes in telecoms firms. The first really big deal was with Comcast, the US cable provider, in which Microsoft took a $1 billion stake last year. This seemed to satisfy Gates for a while, until a few deals with DSL technology firms led to a $200 million investment in Qwest, another telecoms firm, and a $600 million slice of Nextel. But Microsoft's biggest deal so far has been to buy a $5 billion stake in AT&T.
That's not to mention the interest Gates has in Teledesic, the partnership that's aiming at a Net in the sky with a network of satellites.
Microsoft needs those firms to provide greater bandwidth to customers.
Greater bandwidth will allow people to do more on the Internet, and allow fatter software, such as Microsoft's, to run over the Internet. So people will be able to use flash multimedia and whizzy graphics on the Net.
And greater bandwidth will set Ecommerce free. If we are all to do business on the Net, greater bandwidth and higher speeds are essential.
Ecommerce was on the mind of another big vendor last week. HP launched the latest round of its Eservices campaign with Espeak, which sounds Orwellian but is really just a way of letting companies talk the same language when they're doing business over the Internet - so a customer order from your company, through your IT system, can be understood by your supplier's IT system.
Speed is just as essential to the future of this strategy, and the Estrategy of companies like IBM, Compaq and Dell, as it is to Microsoft's. But none of the rest are investing in telecoms firms.
Why not? They just can't afford it, for a start, while Microsoft has oodles of spare cash floating about. And the cash Microsoft is spending to encourage telcos to provide better Ecommerce services is good news for the whole industry if it results in the faster development of higher-speed Internet connections.
So we should thank Microsoft for its efforts in this area. By growing the market for itself, it benefits everybody. It gives us all access to more speed, which is what we all need.
Speed is good. Be like Bill - just say yes.
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