Innovation is Microsoft’s main priority for new product rollouts

Microsoft is flexing its muscles for 12 months of the greatest innovations in its history, said CEO Steve Ballmer during this month’s Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo event.

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By  Diana Milne Published  October 30, 2005

MICROSOFT is flexing its muscles for 12 months of the greatest innovations in its history, said CEO Steve Ballmer during this month’s Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo event. He told the audience in Florida that the company was at the beginning of the “greatest innovation pipeline” it has ever known, with several products soon to be launched. On November 7, for instance, it will release SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006. Also included in Microsoft’s innovation roadmap are Office 12 and Windows Vista, both of which are due in the second half of next year. In his speech Ballmer acknowledged Vista has had a very long gestation period. “We made a call 14 months ago that the integration challenges of trying to bring together a new operating system that had a new presentation service, file system, user interface, communication system and to have all those things be co-dependent was not going to time out,” he said. “We needed to introduce those innovations on a different cycle and in a different way,” Ballmer went on to emphasise. When questioned about why customers should believe Vista would be more secure, Ballmer said that the changes made to its development process are mainly focused on security, reliability and quality. “We were losing major cycle times essentially by not capturing security defects and quality defects early enough in our design cycle,” he added. Ballmer also spoke about Microsoft’s strong competition with Google — and claimed that Microsoft’s rival search engine MSN was used more often globally than Google. “Globally nobody spends more time online anyplace than they do with MSN. It’s because of the strength that we have with our MSN Instant Messenger product and with Hotmail and with Spaces,” Ballmer said. “We’ve got the leading blogging site, the leading online e-mail product and globally, not in the United States, but globally, the leading IM site,” he claimed. Ballmer also said that Microsoft is confident it could take business away from Linux. “I think we have four big opportunities to take business from Linux and we will,” he noted. “High performance clusters is a thing that has been a Linux stronghold,” Ballmer claimed. “We’re coming out with a compute cluster edition of Windows Server, we’re coming out with new development tools that help people write applications that make sense in that kind of scientific computing environment,”he continued. “We see a great opportunity to thrive with innovation versus open source, versus Linux,” Ballmer told the audience.

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