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Gates said advances in hardware and networking technologies had created a base for a new generation of computing. "The constraints now are more about pure software challenges," he said.
Gates highlighted XML technologies, .net and web services as methods for linking disparate platforms and systems.
Microsoft unveiled its new security product, ISA Server 2004, at Comdex, which Gates described as "a firewall-type product that goes further than the classic firewall".
The company also announced its Tablet PC operating system and a royalty-free licensing programme for its Office 2003 XML reference schemas to help developers build products that can interoperate with Office 2003.