The group, which will include Microsoft's larger customers, will meet Thursday and Friday at a Seattle hotel and the corporate campus. Executives will also dine at Gates's home.
Bob McDowell, vice president of enterprise business relationships, said today in a press briefing: "The basic objective is this: Microsoft's products have evolved to where they are used by many large organizations...and it implies a responsibility for us."
He added Microsoft will be soliciting information from its customers on their views of where the industry is headed in their respective fields, including the issue of e-commerce. He added that Gates will also give his impressions of where technology is headed during the two-day conference.
VP Gore was also invited because of his "leadership position" on technology, its impact on society, and the role government should play regarding the industry, McDowell said.
The event, which has been in the planning for the past eight to nine months, marks the first large-scale gathering of top Microsoft customers worldwide for a private meeting, Companies, such as Safeco, Boeing, and Group Health, will comprise the roughly 110 businesses that will be in attendance. About 40 percent of the group will come from outside the United States from countries such as the United Kingdom and Brazil.