Microsoft Corp has had to call in Burlington, Massachusetts-based Lanrover specialist Shiva Corp to help it to put together the product suite code-named Touchdown, which it hopes will prove to be convincing answer to Lotus Development Corp’s Notes. The two shared a platform to announce that the next version of the Windows operating system will provide seamless, remote network access capabilities for mobile computer users and for remote sites – and built-in access to the Internet. Chicago, or Windows 4, is being designed to support fast, easy and transparent access to corporate local- and wide-area networks via analogue, digital and wireless connections, they promised. The remote-access implementation will support Microsoft’s NetBEUI, Novell Inc’s IPX and the TCP/IP protocol to provide built-in access to the Internet via Enterprise Message Server software, which will include a security screen to prevent unwanted access from the Internet into corporate or academic networks. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates also said that from this autumn, all modem chips will include the capability to handle speech and data transmissions in the same communication, and the feature will be supported by Chicago. A demonstration showed two people talking on the phone while data was downloaded via personal computer between the two parties. All of that is going to be built into popular operating systems, including Windows, Gates promised. He reckons that Microsoft will ship at least 40m copies of the Chicago Windows next year.