Microsoft Corp.’s online service has 1 million subscribers, a level it had hoped to reach by late August, Chairman Bill Gates said Monday.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft launched the service, called The Microsoft Network, last Aug. 24 when it released Windows 95, a revised version of its Windows operating system for running personal computers.
“We’ve been in business seven months and got to 1 million,” Gates said, speaking at a Gartner Group conference on the Internet and electronic commerce.
“Other services took five years to get there,” he said. “Now things have moved along in this business.”
Gates said Microsoft’s operating budget for the service was based on reaching the 1 million subscriber mark by the year anniversary of its availability.
Microsoft restructured the service a few months after it started to give its content and user software a more direct relationship with the Internet, the global data network.
Gates said the biggest roadblock to broader use of the Internet is the availability of greater “bandwidth,” or connections that can handle more data signals simultaneously.
“The bandwidth problem is one that won’t disappear overnight,” he said. “Even at the turn of the century, 90 percent of the people who connect will do so over normal phone lines.”
In some places, faster phone lines allow people to exchange data at about four times the 28,800 bits per second speed of ordinary lines.