Microsoft goes Active
Andrew North gets a sneak preview of the software giant's new cross-platform operating system
Monday 11 November 1996
It is called the Active Platform concept and its release came with more than the usual quota of jargon and techno-babble. Essentially, the idea is to allow any machine to be able to talk to any other, whether it is a PC, an Apple Macintosh or a Spark server, and regardless of whether it is connected over the Internet or an intranet. The concept will be based around the Windows NT Server 5.0 and Windows 97 operating systems, which are due to be released in beta form next year.
Microsoft announced the new approach at a conference in Long Beach, California, attended by some 3,500 software developers. They left the conference with a stack of CD-Roms containing preview versions of Windows NT 5.0, which they can use to develop future applications in time for the full launch of the operating system.
Some developers expressed concern at the impregnable position the new system could give Microsoft. But the usual cynicism about the company seemed to have been suspended among many. "It is a major leap," said one developer. "Microsoft is being more open with its system codes than it's ever been and it will allow us to create all sorts of applications that weren't possible before."
One feature of the system is much tougher security, which Microsoft claims will ensure that data is just as safe when it is transferred on the Internet as on company intranets.
Although aimed primarily at businesses, the Active Platform concept could revolutionise computing in general, allowing all kinds of previously separate functions to be interconnected. "We are not far off the concept of the home server which you leave on 24 hours a day to handle all sorts of needs," said Paul Maritz, vice president of Microsoft's platforms group.
The Active Platform concept is a key bridge along the road to Bill Gates's vision of "Information at your fingertips" (or IAYF, in the acronym-loving world of computing). This would mean that you could retrieve any information, or buy any service or product, via a computer, with the bare minimum of commands, perhaps just using your voice.
Mr Gates first espoused his IAYF vision back in 1990 and he says it is already much closer to reality, in large part due to the Internet. "People no longer think of their PC just as a word-processor or for running spreadsheets. They see it as a general communications device," he said.
Speaking to the conference via satellite from London, he added: "We get a B-grade for our efforts to achieve IAYF so far."
There is still time for other companies to catch up, if they run
Life & Style blogs
The Evil Within preview: a survival horror fan’s best worst nightmare
Porn film production likely to stop in Los Angeles after actor tests positive for HIV
The 3D-printed key that can unlock anything
Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS Association doesn't yet know what to do with all of the money raised
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- < Previous
- Next >
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...