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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 17, 2006 at 8:10 AM

CEO Summit: “The last mile of productivity”

Bill Gates gave a wide-ranging talk to the hundred-plus CEOs gathered this morning for Microsoft’s annual CEO summit.

He described the challenge of bridging “the last mile of productivity” — a term Gates said he came up with in just the last few days — as an impediment to maximizing the huge advancements in computer speed and storage achieved over the last decade.

“Today in a company, the idea that you basically record every meeting and you have all your training information online and that it’s easy for people to access that anywhere, it’s common sense. The actual cost of doing that storage is almost a rounding error,” Gates said.

For some companies, “getting information into systems feels like that’s the whole thing, you just get it to be digital and the magic will happen,” he said. “… but unless the very user interface, the standard way that people [access] the information is very obvious to them and very well accepted into their work practice, you don’t get the benefits. … Not digging the ditch for that last mile can really block that entire dream.”

Of course, Microsoft is digging the ditch. The company announced new features in its collaboration software today to improve the way information is sought and shared within a business.

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