At the Workstation Leadership Forum in Seattle this week, Microsoft chairman and CEO Bill Gates preached the gospel of simplicity for Windows NT. Gates says that a key piece of this strategy is standardizing on a single of set of administration tools for engineering and business systems. Microsoft also pushes simplicity through its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and "Digital Nervous System" campaigns.

Gates said that the first step in simplifying NT is to remove all of the bizarre error messages and replace them with easy-to-understand English messages. Standardizing on HTML for application browsing and the Windows Help system also makes it easier on users, he said.

Microsoft was also pushing Windows NT as an alternative to UNIX and the company has suddenly launched a campaign to make it easy for UNIX users and developers to migrate to NT.

"There has been a tremendous shift in the workstation environment in the past year," Gates said. "UNIX traditionally commanded that environment, but now customers are demanding the simplicity and innovation of Windows NT, the power of the Intel Architecture and the lowest total cost of ownership. As a result, the Intel Architecture and Windows NT platform is rapidly becoming the most compelling choice for all technical workstations.