Security fears are actively hampering the adoption of new technologies in businesses, Bill Gates said in his opening keynote at the Microsoft IT Forum '04 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"We have network speeds on the LAN up to gigabit speeds, wireless entworks and WANs. Broadband adoption is huge but we'd like to see it adopted even faster. But keeping all this secure is a very significant challenge," Gates said.

New technologies are being introduced at a frantic pace, he said. "We spend $6 billion on development, primarily on Windows and Office. But the pace of adoption in the business space is not as fast, because of the need to make it secure and make managing it less complex."

As a result, Microsoft is redoubling its efforts to deliver tools to manage and secure systems. Gates laid out the roadmap for Microsoft's management and patching technologies, with most attention going to the launch of Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 and updates to Systems Management Server.

Also on the roadmap is identity management, Gates said. "Customers have a lot of applications using identities, all with different privileges. This complexity shows through to the user experience." With the ID management market already in Microsoft sights, Gates confirmed that the update to Active Directory expected mid-2006 will include web single sign-on and federated identity management tools.

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