Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is planning to write another book on how new technology will affect people and companies.

Gates, whose last book, "Business @ at the Speed of Thought," was published in 1996, is still in the early stages of planning and no date has been set yet for the book's release, Microsoft spokesman John Pinette said.

"Bill has begun thinking about a new book that will talk about new technology and how innovation is going to transform the way we communicate, entertainment and also how innovation is going to have a profound effect at large institutions," Pinette said.

Gates also wrote "The Road Ahead" in 1995 with two other authors.

Many of the topics that Gates is expected to cover in his book includes themes around improving the way individuals and corporations collect and manage the increasing volume of data made available through technology.

Such topics are also on the agenda at Microsoft's annual CEO Summit, where the software giant invites chief executives from various corporations around the world to its Redmond, Wash., campus for two days of networking and presentations led by Gates.

The world's largest software maker also announced that it would launch the next version of its Office spreadsheet, e-mail and word processing programs during the second half of 2006, the same time frame it is planning for the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.

Gates promised in an e-mail to executives that the upcoming Office upgrades--code-named Office 12--would make it easier for workers to "focus, prioritize and apply their expertise, visualize and understand key data, and reduce the amount of time they spend dealing with the complexity of an information-rich environment.