Bill G. at the MVP Summit
I spent most of the week at the MVP Global Summit in Redmond, where 1700 of my fellow geeks from all over the world met with Microsoft’s product teams to discuss upcoming technologies.
The keynote by Bill Gates was rather underwhelming. Gates used to make some pretty passionate speeches about new technology, but this time he looked tired and bored. I think he’s already checked-out as he prepares for retirement and managing his foundation full time. However, after his speech he sat down for a Q&A session which turned out to be rather interesting. One guy showed up with a copy of Microsoft’s first product, and the first basic compiler for the Altair 8800 computer. Bill wrote this software along with Paul Allen while they were in College. The guy who brought it read a quote from the instruction manual where it said to call Bill or Paul for technical support and even gave their phone numbers. Bill was gracious enough to autograph the manual; I’m sure it would fetch a pretty sum on eBay.
The only time that Bill’s face really lit up though was when someone asked him about his charitable foundation and the work it is doing. Bill is obviously very passionate about his charity work and this is where his energy will be spent going forward. It is nice to see the richest man in the world really care about the people of this world who are in dire need of assistance. When asked what he thought of MIT’s Laptop for Everyone project he said it was a good idea and that Microsoft was also doing work to bring cheap computing to the developing nations. But he also qualified his remark by correctly pointing out that for millions of people, they will first need food, water, shelter, health care, and education before having access to a laptop will do them any good.
The rest of the conference was OK and I spent most of my time with the Connected Systems Division (CSD), where they discussed the upcoming version of BizTalk Server, the .NET Framework 3.5, and the work they are doing around Communications Framework and Workflow Foundation. They have some pretty interesting developer platform technologies coming down the pipe, and it looks like the BizTalk brand (if not the server) is becoming the core of CSD.