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Old 3rd March 2008, 19:26   #1
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Icon17 Cebit Opening Speech by Steve Ballmer

Chancellor Merkel ,President Sarkozy, President Barroso, Prime Minister Wulf, Professor Scheer, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen - It is truly an honor to be invited to speak here. CeBIT is one of the world's most important technology events. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe converge in Hannover to learn about the future of technology and the new opportunities that it will create.

The last time I spoke here was in 2002. In that speech I mentioned that I'd been at Microsoft for 22 years and lived through three computing revolutions. Now six years later, I've been at Microsoft for 28 years, and I can say that I've lived through four.

That's four revolutions in 28 years. Just about one every seven years or so.

During the first revolution, the personal computer became an affordable, mainstream product. This revolution put computing power in the hands of individuals for the first time.

The second revolution saw the emergence of the graphical user interface. That made it much easier for people to take advantage of the power of computing.

Revolution number three saw the rise of the Internet. During this revolution, email became an everyday communications tool and information became dramatically easier to find and share. We also gave computers the ability to talk to each other directly, which allowed us to start to automate a lot of business processes: a revolution by itself.

Revolution number four was just starting in 2002. Let's call it the "Web 2.0 revolution" since that's the name commonly used to describe it. During this revolution, the Web has evolved from static pages and information to become a platform for services, and for publishing and sharing information.

If this 7-year pattern holds true, we should be at the end of revolution number four and the beginning of a fifth revolution. And . . . if you look at what's going on in the industry and in the marketplace, that's exactly what's happening.

So today, I'd like to share my thoughts about the fifth computing revolution . . . the trends that are shaping it and the impact it will have on our lives and our businesses.

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