Ballmer: Windows Live Is Top Microsoft Priority

By Stan Gibson  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Microsoft's CEO tells the Gartner audience that Windows Live is the next software paradigm.

ORLANDO, Fla.—Windows Live is the most important initiative at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, told the audience at the annual Gartner Symposium and IT Expo here on Oct. 10.

"We're in a transition to software that is live. It will be click to run, like a Web site," said Ballmer. "We believe in evolving to click to run."

Windows Live is a growing collection of service add-ons for Windows. Some of the services are shipping, such as Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Expo online classifieds. Nearly a dozen services are currently in beta test on the Windows Live Ideas Web site.

"The most important thing is the Live platform. The next level of consumerization is coming from Internet services and Internet delivery," said Ballmer, whose comments dovetailed with a theme espoused by Gartner analysts at this year's conference: that consumer technologies such as search, podcasting, on-demand video and blogging will seep into enterprise IT infrastructures in the years ahead.

Gartner analysts say consumer technology will overtake corporations. Click here to read more.

Ballmer said the move to an online experience for the user does not diminish the need for powerful client systems, which are the bread-and-butter of Microsoft's software business.

Gartner analysts posed questions to Ballmer on a number of topics, particularly the forthcoming Vista release of Windows. Ballmer said the lesson his company has learned from the repeated delays that have plagued the release of Vista, once known as "Longhorn," is the need to reduce complexity in the development process.

"We learned we have to innovate and integrate, but not necessarily at the same time. There was too much new invention to be integrated," he said.

In the area of enterprise applications, Ballmer noted that Microsoft is working to release a hosted CRM (customer relationship management) service. He also said Microsoft is working on a common code base for the ERP (enterprise resource planning) products in the company's Dynamics product line—essentially what had been called "Project Green" a couple of years ago.

Ballmer also stressed that Microsoft will continue to invest in multiple core businesses: entertainment, online, enterprise and desktop. In addition, he touted the company's legendary tenacity if success does not come quickly. "The bone doesn't fall out of our mouth easily. We keep coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming."

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Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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