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Sat 5 Aug 2000 04:00 AM

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Microsoft says it can do e-government faster

Microsoft made a play for its place in the establishment of the United Arab Emirates e-business structure.

Microsoft made a play for its place in the establishment of the United Arab Emirates e-business structure when visiting European VP Pierre Dupont outlined plans for unified Web access to government services.

“The biggest risk is too many Web sites. The answer is unified access to services through a government portal. For the citizen there should be only one single place for all government information,” Dupont told members of the press at a Dubai press conference.

Under Microsoft’s scheme, all government sites would be hidden behind the single unified site effectively acting as data centres and having no public facing role.

“We had a session … with the government of Dubai and their biggest concern was sharing of information between sites. Regardless of whether data is Oracle, IBM etc, we have the technology to make data sharable. The government will go to other venues if there are benefits,” Dupont told the assembled reporters.

Unified Portal

“A government portal would cost between $2.5 and $25 million, but it is difficult to put a price on it. It depends on the richness of the interface,” said Dupont on costs for a Microsoft unified portal.

Dupont also said that European experience has shown that Microsoft knows how to dramatically slash the time to implement an e-government structure from the 18 month period for transition proposed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to less than four months.

“We have evidence in Europe and the US that it is possible in three to four months,” said Dupont.

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