Browser-based computing is becoming old fashioned, and both clients and servers still need significant advancement, according to Bill Gates, Microsoft's chief software architect.
During his keynote speech at the Comdex event, Gates told delegates that the PC is not dead and that the server has been neglected, rendering it unable to deliver clear information to users in a widely understandable format.
Gates introduced improvements to client-side computing, with demonstrations of the next version of Office, codenamed Office 10, and the next version of Windows, called Whistler.
"The browser model, which has been the focus of computing for the last five years, is showing its age," said Gates. "We need development tools and standards which take off at a different level."
Napster-style peer-to-peer networking is great, Gates said, but "they can't just be client-oriented. They need the server to be involved." Authentication and storage of huge data repositories are functions only the server can perform, he added.
Gates's remarks were all geared towards plugging Microsoft's .Net initiative, which will see applications delivered over the internet, requiring both the PC and the server to enable collaborative computing.
"You can't have one of these bottlenecked by the other, because you need major advances in both areas of activity," he said.
At the heart of .Net is the XML programming language, which Gates said is "the key to where the [technology] industry should go". XML will feature in both Whistler and Office 10.
On the server hardware side, Gates praised Intel's Infiniband IA64 technology and its 32-processor servers. He said this technology is enabling Microsoft to attract many high-volume websites.
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