RealTime IT News

Microsoft's Herbold Bets on Net, Despite Bumpy Ride

Microsoft chief operating officer Robert Herbold emphasized his company's belief in Internet advertising as the basis for Microsoft's bet on interactive media in a keynote speech at the Hambrecht and Quist Technology Conference Monday morning.

"We're in the early stages of a medium we think will become the next mass medium," Herbold said.

Microsoft has been scaling back on its efforts to create original content and focusing more on utility-driven sites like Expedia and Carpoint.

Herbold acknowledged the fits and starts of Microsoft's Internet strategy, but attributed this to the fact that the medium is in its very early stages.

As evidence of Microsoft's success on the Internet, Herbold cited Microsoft's Internet Gaming Zone, which has 1.4 million registered users, and Carpoint, with over 1.2 million monthly users, along with recently-acquired Hotmail, with over 15 million registered users.

He said Microsoft would also continue to encourage the development of high-speed bandwidth through its investments in companies like Comcast and TCI.

With respect to Windows 98, which is scheduled for a June 25 release, Herbold said Microsoft's plans are to go ahead with substantially integrating Internet capabilities into the new OS despite the Department of Justice's investigation into whether Microsoft is using its dominance of OS software to extend its reach into Internet products.

Herbold would not speculate on whether federal or state legal action might prevent Microsoft from releasing Windows 98.