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Bill Gates TechEd North America 2008 Speech Highlights

Technology advancements, partnerships showcase how Visual Studio and the .NET Framework simplify today’s development challenges, drive innovation for tomorrow’s applications.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates reflected on the company’s 33-year history with developers and shared his predictions for the future in front of more than 5,000 developers at Microsoft’s Tech*Ed North America 2008 Developers conference today. Joined onstage by other Microsoft executives and technology luminaries including S. Somasegar, David Campbell and Brian Harry, Gates demonstrated how Microsoft is making it easier for developers to tackle complex tasks such as creating compelling user experiences, building data-driven applications, managing large enterprise projects and capitalizing on emerging trends including cloud computing, modeling and natural language programming. Microsoft made several announcements at the event, including release timing for Internet Explorer 8 beta 2, a technical collaboration with IBM, availability of Silverlight 2 beta 2, and the launch of the Microsoft project code-named “Velocity,” a distributed in-memory application cache platform.

“When I think back on the early days of development when we were all programming in DOS, and then take a look at what we can do now with technologies like the .NET Framework, it simply amazes me how far we’ve come,” Gates said. “I started out as a developer and that’s what I remain at heart, so I have a personal interest in the future of the field. I am confident that the path we are laying out today will serve you well into the future.”

In his keynote address, Gates chronicled the past 30 years of development, highlighting application development technology trends that are relevant for developers today and on the road ahead. He also reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to helping developers harness existing expertise and technology investments to create a broader array of applications with a richer set of user experiences.

“When we created our Bears Alert desktop application, the goal was to improve fans’ experiences by giving them real-time news and information on the team and a lot of options in how they can connect with our Web site,” said Dan Gadd, Web site manager for the Chicago Bears. “Using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, the .NET Framework and Expression Blend made a huge difference, since we didn’t have to worry about a learning curve and we were able to conduct designer and developer activities in parallel. The result is a very high-quality application created in record time.”

Technologies and initiatives announced today build on Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5, and demonstrate how the company’s integrated toolset and platform help developers build rich, interactive applications from the Web to the desktop, work in heterogeneous environments and much more. The announcements include the following:

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  • Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 will be available this August in 20 languages worldwide. Internet Explorer 8 is the next version of Microsoft’s popular browser, and in beta 1 it delivers significantly improved standards support and developer platform investments with enhanced user experiences. Beta 1 for Internet Explorer 8 is currently available and is focused on Web developers and designers to help them deliver Web experiences that go beyond the page for consumers.
  • Availability this week of Silverlight 2 beta 2, the latest version of Microsoft’s cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET-based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Now available with a commercial Go Live license, Silverlight 2 beta 2 will be used to power the unprecedented online experience NBC Universal is creating for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. To help developers take full advantage of Silverlight, Microsoft also released Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview and Microsoft Silverlight Tools beta 2 for Visual Studio 2008.
  • An alliance with IBM that will further simplify application development for enterprise teams working in heterogeneous environments. IBM and Microsoft have agreed to work together to integrate IBM DB2 database access with Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition.
  • Multiple partner wins and the latest community technology preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Sync Framework, a comprehensive synchronization platform that enables collaboration and offline scenarios for applications, services and devices. New partners include Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Ontela Inc. and SmugMug Inc. Microsoft Sync Framework will be released in the third quarter of 2008 with full support for the FeedSync open protocol format on devices. A CTP for Windows Mobile support will also be available in the third quarter 2008.
  • The first CTP of the Microsoft project code-named “Velocity,” a distributed, in-memory application cache platform that makes it easier to develop scalable, high-performance applications needing frequent access to disparate data sources. Large clusters of machines can be seamlessly integrated into a single cache, providing high availability to data.
  • Ongoing momentum for Microsoft code-name “Oslo.” Microsoft reiterated its commitment to model-driven development and focus on helping developers realize the full potential of declarative programming, inspiring collaboration across organizational roles and enabling developers and IT pros to more easily deploy, manage and evolve applications. Microsoft will bolster its investments in a unified modeling platform code-named “Oslo,” which will be used by future versions of Visual Studio, Microsoft System Center, BizTalk Server and Microsoft SQL Server. “Oslo” will include visual modeling and composition tools, a foundational repository built on SQL Server 2008 for managing application metadata, and a new, declarative modeling language to enable interoperability of models between tools and domain-specific modeling notations.
  • A new version of Visual Studio 2008 extensions for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 v1.2, which will allow developers to use Visual Studio 2008 to extend the value of Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server by providing a simplified development environment.
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