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Bill Gates: Five Technology Predictions

-- by James E. Powell

In the public mind, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is regarded as a visionary with the clout to make his vision come true. So when he held a CEO summit recently, more than 100 corporate chieftains trooped to Seattle to listen to him.

Here are his five latest predictions.

Gates said too many people overestimate how much things will change in the next two years and underestimate how much they will change in the next 10. And in that regard, watch for improvements in bandwidth.

He also expects the boundary between what you do inside your company and outside to be shattered. Similarly, the Internet greatly expands your access to other organizations that your company can do business with around the world.

Gates predicted that companies will still think of customers, not sophisticated distribution systems, as their primary assets. He added that the practice of paying people to read e-mail ads will grow.

Xerox's prediction of a paperless office is still correct, Gates said. The earliest reductions will occur in forms, which will be distributed electronically.

Finally, Gates believes companies need to create the right environment for knowledge workers, and provide them with the right tools. Such as a PC running Windows, of course.

Windows Magazine, August 1997, page 64.

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