Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates is planning this week to unveil the company’s strategy for the government IT market, an intensely competitive area that has seen open-source software gain a strong foothold.

On Tuesday, Gates will discuss the company’s Public Services and eGovernment Strategy at a government event in Portugal. The following day, Gates will further discuss the initiative during a keynote speech at Microsoft’s Government Leaders Forum Europe 2006 in Lisbon, a two-day event with government leaders from across Europe and high-ranking Microsoft officials.

The strategy will focus on the “core capabilities” of government IT administration, including identity management, customer relationship management and case management, document and forms management, Microsoft said. The strategy, part of the Microsoft Connected Government Framework, is billed as a way for governments to build less expensive IT systems with better service for citizens, according to a company news release Monday.

Microsoft said it is working with its partners on the eGovernment strategy. Those partners include WISeKey SA for digital identification of citizens. Accenture Ltd. and Avanade Inc. are working with Microsoft on software to replace paper forms and automation technologies.

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