Bill Gates Promotes Steve Ballmer to President and CEO;Gates Creates New Role As Chairman and Chief Software Architect Gates and Ballmer Preview Strategy to Transform Company AroundInternet User

Experience and Next Generation Windows Services



    REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Accelerating the company's major
 strategy initiative, Microsoft Corp. today announced that its co-founder,
 Bill Gates, has created a new role for himself -- Chairman and Chief Software
 Architect -- so that he can dedicate all of his time to helping drive the next
 generation Windows Internet platform and services.  Microsoft announced that
 Steve Ballmer becomes president and CEO, and takes over management of the
 company.
     These changes were announced following the release of Microsoft(R)
 Windows(R) 2000, which the company said is a crucial building block of its
 strategy to focus on software services - a major technology shift that will
 transform the industry in the way the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the
 Internet did.  Driving this major shift is the need for a better Internet User
 Experience to enable businesses, consumers and developers to better
 personalize and tailor the services they use, and to store and share the
 information they need - any time, any place and on any device.
     At the core of this strategy are Microsoft's plans, announced today, to
 assemble the first Internet-based platform of Next Generation Windows Services
 (NGWS), which will power new products and services and incorporate such
 features and capabilities as a new user interface, natural language
 processing, application development approach, schema and new file system - all
 of which have been in development.
     As part of this platform, Microsoft said that a key set of NGWS will be
 hosted on the Internet and will be infused into future versions of Windows.
 The NGWS platform will create a host of new opportunities for other
 businesses, and is the foundation of the company's software services strategy,
 first articulated in September of last year at Microsoft's developer strategy
 day and described in further detail during Bill Gates' November 1999 Comdex
 speech.
     "It is a great pleasure for me to announce that Steve Ballmer -- my
 long-term partner in building Microsoft and a great business leader -- is
 being named CEO," said Gates.  "These are dramatic times in our industry.  As
 we look ahead to what it will take to do an amazing job executing against our
 new strategic direction of building next-generation services for our
 customers, we recognize that we must refocus and reallocate our resources and
 talents against our key priorities and challenges."
     "I'm returning to what I love most -- focusing on technologies for the
 future.  This was a personal decision, one I have discussed with Steve and our
 board of directors for some time.  Although I've been able to spend more time
 on our technical strategy since naming Steve as president in July 1998, I felt
 that the opportunities for Microsoft were incredible, yet our structure wasn't
 optimal to really take advantage of them to the degree that we should.
 Steve's promotion will allow me to dedicate myself full-time to my passion
 -- building great software and strategizing on the future, and nurturing and
 collaborating with the core team helping Steve run the company."
     Gates also indicated that Ballmer would become a member of the Microsoft
 Corp. Board of Directors effective January 27.
     "I am very excited and very honored," said Ballmer.  "These are amazing
 times full of remarkable opportunities.  Microsoft has all of the right stuff
 -- great people and great technology -- to dramatically take action on a new
 strategy that builds on the company's heritage of applying software know-how
 to the new world of software services -- a world we will pioneer along with
 our partners.
     "Software is the key to the future.  It will drive and accelerate
 innovations in hardware, wireless, broadband, e-commerce and other fields.
 Our vision is to create a new services platform that will ignite new
 opportunities for literally thousands of partners and customers around the
 world," Ballmer said.
 
     Setting Priorities:  Microsoft Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS)
 
     Ballmer today outlined his core priorities and announced plans for a major
 strategy day this Spring, when the company will outline details of the
 Internet User Experience vision and strategy.
     "With the release of Windows 2000 and Office 2000 and the impending
 release of Exchange 2000, SQL 2000 and other tools, we are focusing on helping
 customers take advantage of the enormous benefits and richness of this
 generation of products, while fully galvanizing our technical teams around
 building the new platform and services." said Ballmer.
 Ballmer said Bill Gates and Microsoft's four technical group vice presidents,
 including Paul Maritz, Jim Allchin, Bob Muglia, and Rick Belluzzo, will drive
 developing the technologies and user scenarios that are key to the success of
 the Internet User Experience and Next Generation Windows Services.
 
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for
 personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products
 and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time,
 any place and on any device.
 
 

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.microsoft.com

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