Bill Gates Stakes Out Internet2

In case you’ve been dreaming of a Window-less Internet2 — it’s time to wake up.

Microsoft Corp. announced on April 28th that it’s already staking its claim on the next-generation Internet, by joining the Internet2 Coalition.

Putting its money where its mouth is

The Redmond, Washington-based software giant also pledged $1 million (US$) in goods and services to universities currently doing research for the organization. Other high-tech heavy hitters belonging to the coalition include IBM and 3Com Corp. So far, member companies have committed $30 million to the project.

Sponsored universities eventually hope to develop ultra-high speed medical care and digital libraries using Internet2. Plus, industry experts say the e-commerce possibilities for the medium are immense, since Internet2 is touted to be much faster and more reliable then its primitive forerunner.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s chairman Bill Gates’ interest in Internet2 seems to be linked to his keen entrepreneurial survival instinct.

Someday in the near future, experts say, software-based computers will become obsolete with expensive software programs being rented over Internet2 for a monthly fee, such as cable TV is now.

Annapolis, Maryland-based USinternetworking, Inc., a company that launched a successful initial public offering in April, is one of several startups already leasing sophisticated business e-commerce packages to companies via the Internet.

Over the next decade, when the battle between the high-tech titans is likely to be settled once and for all, issues of bandwidth and speed will become insignificant when compared to the battle over which company will dominate Internet2.

It appears Microsoft has just given everybody a wakeup call. Yet, the company has also been taking care of its other interests in a style reminiscent of a nineteenth-century colonial power:

  • Last week there were rumors that Microsoft might be teaming up with Comcast Corp. and arch rival America Online to outbid AT&T for MediaOne. Microsoft already holds a $1 billion dollar stake in Comcast.
  • Microsoft also sued 15 Florida companies because they allegedly sold or installed illegal copies of its programs.
  • It also announced it was creating a new worldwide streaming-media unit to try and cash in on the online music market that is estimated to soar to $60 billion a year by 2003.

Love him or hate him, you have to admit, Gates and his company keep taking care of business.

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

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