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Open Gates?

Technology | Bill Gates proclaims that computer industry is in an innovation upturn

Issue: "Unions: Dues and don'ts," Nov. 30, 2002

Never mind the Nasdaq. Bill Gates says he's upbeat about personal computing. He opened America's biggest trade show with a speech proclaiming that innovation continues in the computer industry.

"Even though we're in an economic downturn, we're in an innovation upturn," Mr. Gates said at this year's Comdex. That "innovation" involves various portable devices intended to make computing more versatile.

One of these hot new technologies is the Smart Display, which would be an extension of a user's PC. These flat screen monitors would be portable and cordless, and they would connect to a normal computer running Windows XP Professional. The screen could be used as a writing surface, similar to the much-touted Tablet PC.

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Another innovation is called SPOT, or Smart Personal Objects Technology. This would allow ordinary household electronics to connect to the Internet. For example, an alarm clock could reset itself and download weather reports and news headlines.

As Microsoft moves forward, it still faces legal spats. Even though Microsoft's major anti-trust woes are probably over, Sun Microsystems still intends to pursue a lawsuit against the software giant. Several states may still fight for tighter limits on allegedly anti-competitive practices.

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