Microsoft continued its "software as a service" blitz on software developers yesterday, with Chair and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates describing a new "client/server/services" infrastructure model that will be spawned by the .Net platform.

"That three-level platform will change how developers think about writing their applications," Gates told attendees of the company's Professional Developers Conference. "Applications will be deployed and completely up to date simply using that infrastructure."

The developer community is crucial to Microsoft's plans for .Net, the strategy first unveiled last month at Forum 2000 at the firm's Redmond, Washington, headquarters.

.Net relies on services such as Microsoft's Passport, which stores a user's personal information for use on a variety of Web sites.

Microsoft wooed the crowd with a pre-beta release of Visual Studio.Net, and spelled out its tools strategy going forward, including a common run time that brings a wide variety of programming languages together.