Microsoft founder Bill Gates has outlined his vision of a 'digital decade' that will revolutionise the way the world communicates and does business.
Gates' 'digital decade' vision
In a keynote 'state of the industry' speech at this year's Comdex, Gates said the new Windows XP software had already sold seven million copies in the first fortnight.
And he predicted new Tablet PCs would become the most popular PC within the next five years.
Gates unveiled prototypes of the Tablet PC made by leading computer makers and announced that they will go on sale in the second half of 2002.
Tablets are just half the weight of most of today's laptops, and are packed full of features to combine the power of desktop computing with the flexibility and portability of a pen and paper notepad.
'The PC took computing out of the back office and into everyone's office,' said Gates. 'The Tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I'm already using a Tablet as my everyday computer.
'It's a PC that is virtually without limits - and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.'
The Microsoft chairman was also upbeat about the future of the computer industry.
'The events of the past few months have demonstrated the urgent need to re-energise the world economy and the importance of global unity,' he said.
'The wave of hardware and software innovation we're now seeing will provide the impetus for renewed investment in information technology across every business and economic sector.
'The productivity gains that technology will drive during this digital decade will be double those of the 1990s. At the same time, new digital communication technology will continue to shrink the globe, helping to bring people closer together and breaking down barriers between nations. It promises a new global language for a new world.'
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