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March 12, 1996

WINDOWS “20 YEARS OUT OF DATE,” SO IBM PROMISES TRULY NEW USER INTERFACE – “NOT ANOTHER AD/CYCLE”

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has got a new user interface technology in the labs which it says borrows the best techniques from video arcade games such as Myst, visual methodologies from Walt Disney Co, as well as technology from Taligent Inc’s People, Places & Things front- end metaphor and Kaleida Labs Inc’s ScriptX. It has got a shed- full of code names for the technology but isn’t yet sure if or how all of the pieces can make it through development, quality assurance, legal and trademark and other hoops. This will not be another AD/Cycle… we want to set real goals, IBM says. It is insistent, however, that what does come through will be a brand new user interface for work or play. It will be completely separate from underlying logic or data, and IBM says the interface will build on advances in processor power to offer a new visual environment on top of existing operating systems and graphical front-ends, application environments and development tools. Why? Because Windows is 20 years out of date, it says. The 1988 IBM Corp-Microsoft Corp development project to put objects on glass led to the creation of Common User Access rules – but no tools – and was Microsoft’s jumping off point for Windows. The IBM team began studying new ways of presenting abstract concepts visually, such as Disney’s methodology and video arcade games as well as the latest graphical user interface techniques, before arriving at the new interface paradigm. It has been showing people the results under non-disclosure agreements. It is currently a professional development environment, and IBM says Taligent’s People, Places & Things metaphor will also be pressed into use for desktop application design at the other end of the scale. Bart, its Web-executable development language, has an interface that is very similar to Microsoft Visual Basic but will offer much more powerful features, it says.

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