Wednesday, July 24, 2002 Users Still Waiting for Microsoft To Deliver on Promise of '.NET' Two years ago, at the tail end of the dot-com boom, Microsoft Corp. pledged to completely overhaul its business through a new Internet strategy. In touchy-feely TV ads, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates promised a "new generation" of software that would "understand your voice, anticipate your needs, protect your privacy and connect you to the Internet wherever you are." ... In a slick, all-day strategy session unveiling the revamping, dubbed "Microsoft.NET," the company showed videos of grandparents receiving digital photos zapped right to table-top picture frames, and a high-school student tapping away on a tablet-style computer on the bleachers outside school. ... There's only one nagging issue: Little of it has come to pass. ... "If they could mix and match, and play better with others, that would really help," says analyst Rick Sherlund of Goldman Sachs. Some, though, say the collapse of the Internet bubble means Microsoft's .NET plans aren't as pressing as two years ago. No company wound up developing a credible Web-based competitor to Microsoft's cash-cow Office word-processing and e-mail product, for instance, SG Cowen's Mr. Brosseau points out. "Nobody's threatening them," he says." (I think the concluding observation is much more useful than the attempt to scandalize the fact that few grandparents are beaming photos around living rooms.)

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