News From COMDEX ... Las Vegas

Dear OBT Readers,

Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada and COMDEX.

Rather than your regular issue of OBT, our reporters are on site @ COMDEX covering the convention.

OBT readers will receive hot reports right off the convention floor. When we return to Fort Lauderdale, OBT will do more follow up business stories about what we saw and heard at COMDEX/FALL '95.

If you receive OBT in PDF format, you'll have to endure because OBT COMDEX reports will be mailed only in the text version.

So stay tuned to OBT, your #1 source for online business information and reports about online business.

Best regards to all our readers worldwide,

Karl Slatner, Publisher
Jeffrey R. Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief


Thousands of convention attendees literally surrounded and clogged all the entrances to the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas. Many had been waiting since 6:30 AM to hear Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, deliver the keynote address for COMDEX 95 scheduled for 9:00 AM yesterday. OBT counted at least six lines four to six abreast each snaking several hundred yards to and away from the Sands. Fortunately a remarkably skilled shuttle driver and the Home Page Press press pass allowed OBT to jump in front and obtain one of the few remaining seats on the main floor at 8:19 AM. The room holds 7,500 people but two to three times that many were disappointed and turned away at the doors.

The excitement was in the auditorium was invigorating. Smiles were everywhere as were cameras and microphones. The audience wiggled in anticipation of hearing America's favorite billionaire speak of the (near) future of the Internet and business and the "personalized" connected office. Mr. Gates, now 40, walked out on time to loud but polite applause and first reviewed a brief history of PC computing. He said that growth has lead to 59% of Microsoft's sales today being desktop applications software, a 400% increase in the last two years.

OBT expected the presentation to sweep forward into a discussion of the Internet for business when Mr. Gates said that the "Internet is an unbelievable gold rush where there really is gold. Our industry will be changed fundamentally by the Internet."

For there the live talk stopped and the presentation moved into a made-by-Microsoft movie depicting a small town in America. The premise was a young lady from New York who had just inherited a marina property and other central land within the traditional main shopping area of the town. Two opposing forces were in conflict. One wanted to redevelop the property into a shopping Mecca and the other side wanted to keep things as they were. A battle of wills and words and computing ensued as this reporter began to wonder exactly what was the point of the film in the context of business computing and the Internet and the "real gold rush" that Billy Bob was explaining.

Other than exhibiting the concept of IntelliSense software in use, OBT saw no particular point to the film as an illustration of the future of business computing, much less the involvement of the power of the Internet. The movie was periodically stopped and Mr. Gates would speak for two more minutes before resuming his film. IntelliSense software anticipates the user by providing sensible prompts when in use. For example, were one to purchase an airline ticket online, the IntelliSense software would help coordinate your flight with your existing business schedule as written in your appointment book.

Sure we saw the Internet used for e-mail and heard brief mentions of simultaneous voice/data communications using the Internet. OBT heard about eight words about making wireless communications more available and that ISDN was exciting and 5X faster "which can and will make a qualitative difference" in the way we work and do business.

Sadly, OBT really heard nothing that your average computer savvy 16-year-old capitalist could not have uttered with complete safety of not predicting outside his/her expertise. Bill said that small business would team up with big business on the Internet. He closed remarking that business would be further enabled by customized office productivity software and the global connectivity of the Internet.

Bet you're glad we stood in line for you, eh?


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