Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and Chief Software Architect announced during his keynote address to Comdex 2003 participants the next version of the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system, which will be available in the first half of 2004 and will be free for Tablet PC customers. The new operating system features deep integration of pen support in Windows XP, making it easier to create text anywhere in Windows and familiar Windows-based applications, as well as enabling software developers to add inking capabilities to both new and existing applications. Gates noted that Tablet PCs are finding increasing adoption as a mainstream laptop PC replacement in a wide range of businesses. He also announced three new Tablet PCs from Gateway, Toshiba and ViewSonic.
"We're entering an era when software is no longer as constrained by the capabilities of hardware. Our industry is now in a position to deliver on seamless computing -- a new wave of software breakthroughs that will enrich personal and business connections, help groups work better together, and adapt to the way people want to work," Gates said.
He also unveiled Microsoft's new spam-filtering technology, called SmartScreen, designed to help protect the inboxes of corporate and consumer e-mail users. Noting that more than half of e-mail sent today is spam, which puts a heavy strain on networks and wastes significant time, money and resources, Gates emphasized the need for an innovative solution to reduce unwanted e-mail. SmartScreen Technology, implemented in Outlook 2003, MSN and Hotmail uses a patented machine-learning approach that assigns a probability score to each incoming message based on user feedback. The information is then used to help filter out spam before it reaches the user's inbox.
Gates also announced that SmartScreen Technology will power the newly announced Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter (IMF), an add-on for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.
Gates concluded his presentation with an optimistic view of the PC industry, noting that the software breakthroughs of today are laying the foundation for a transformation in computing that is as dramatic as the move from text-based interfaces to the graphical user interface. He highlighted the industry's opportunity to grow by delivering a new generation of software that increases productivity and efficiency, enables new communication and entertainment experiences, and rewires how companies do business.
"Our vision for seamless computing is both revolutionary and evolutionary," Gates said. "The changes users will see in the technology they use will be gradual, but the difference between the computing experience of today and the experiences that will be possible a few years from now will be like night and day."