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IBD: Innovation Alive And Well At Microsoft, Ballmer Says

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  • User profile image
    SCMcDonnell

    Innovation Alive And Well At Microsoft, Ballmer Says


    Company Plans Big Advances
    Microsoft looks to ward off threats from open source and Web-based services

    BY KEN SPENCER BROWN INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

    Microsoft will spearhead more advances in the next year than at any time in its 30-year history, says CEO Steve Ballmer, dismissing critics who say Google, Linux and other upstarts are eclipsing a lumbering giant.
       Speaking Wednesday at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Fla., Ballmer cited the firm’s upcoming product rollout as proof that Microsoft MSFT hasn’t lost its edge — even if other companies are hogging the limelight.
       “If you read the newspapers, Google GOOG is doing everything but curing cancer,” he told the audience of around 6,000 people. “The truth is, we’ve got our heads down. We’ve got very smart people just working on innovation, innovation, innovation.”
       Over the next 12 months, Microsoft plans to debut new versions of its two main moneymakers: the Windows operating system and the Office software suite.
       Other planned launches include a second-generation video game console called the Xbox 360, a fifth version of the Windows Mobile software, and an upgraded Internet Explorer Web browser. Microsoft also is overhauling its Web search capabilities and other Internet functions, such as its Hotmail e-mail service.
       The plans are seen as an attempt to ward off two major threats: opensource software and Web-based services.
       Open-source software — collectively written by programmers around the globe and shared freely — is expected to compete more fiercely with Microsoft’s Windows and Office products.
       Linux, a Windows foe, is the bestknown example of open-source programming. But it’s not alone. Opensource versions of other software are getting good enough to pose a challenge.
       Meanwhile, Google — the most popular Web search service — has expanded onto Microsoft’s turf with software that searches computer hard drives. And Google now offers photo-editing software, Picassa, and Google Earth, a mapping program that shows aerial photos and 3-D buildings.
       Mountain View, Calif.-based Google also recently announced plans to work with Sun Microsystems SUNW . The two companies plan to promote and improve OpenOffice.org, a free alternative to Microsoft Office.
       The moves could cause major problems for Microsoft’s future earnings, says Thomas Bittman, an analyst at the research firm Gartner.
       First, Microsoft will have to deal with a shift away from pricey desktop software. Computer users are relying more on lower-cost Webbased services, Bittman notes.
       “Look at how people are using their computers,” he said. “(Microsoft) Office is becoming a smaller and smaller part of what they do.”
       Instead, they’re using personal computers for Web surfing and e-mail, which don’t require Microsoft products. Microsoft’s online offerings don’t measure up to those of rivals, Bittman says.
       As for the open-source threat, that hasn’t had a huge impact on Microsoft yet, Bittman says. But the Linux software is getting to be a contender for large computer systems, he says. That could take the steam out of Microsoft’s upcoming Longhorn server software.
       Ballmer says he recognizes the problem. In the battle for users moving off old Unix systems, Linux is winning more converts than Windows, Ballmer admits.
       But Microsoft is ready, Ballmer says. It will compete “the good, oldfashioned way — with innovation,” he said.
       The firm looks to improve the effectiveness of Web searches. Right now, searches only find the right information about half the time. Microsoft looks to boost that success rate to 70% by next year — something that would give the company a huge advantage, Ballmer says.
       And new versions of Windows will outdo Linux on servers, he says.
       “It never matters where we are,” Ballmer said. “We know we have to push, push, push, push, push to be better.”

    Speaking Wednesday at a conference in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company is more innovative than ever. AP

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    HAHA!

    - Steve

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    SCMcDonnell wrote:

    “The truth is, we’ve got our heads down. We’ve got very smart people just working on innovation, innovation, innovation.”


    He likes repeating words three times

  • User profile image
    jamie

    brian.shapiro wrote:
    SCMcDonnell wrote:
    “The truth is, we’ve got our heads down. We’ve got very smart people just working on innovation, innovation, innovation.”


    He likes repeating words three times



    push, push, push, push, push to be better

    5 times - he "innovated"  Wink

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    No one really cares.

    Beer28 wrote:


    BTW: I have the same company position rank as Ballmer now, except I make practically nothing in comparison and I don't get to ride in cool private jets(or airplanes of any kind for that matter)

  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    Beer28 wrote:

    BTW: I have the same company position rank as Ballmer now, except I make practically nothing in comparison and I don't get to ride in cool private jets(or airplanes of any kind for that matter)


    Yet you ride in the new "CarBoat" which is much cooler in a "FearFactor" kinda way...

    Oh I second...no one cares.

  • User profile image
    JChung2006

    Microsoft can certainly eclipse the companies Ballmer mentioned for innovation... if they'd only ever get the neat gadgets out of Research and turn them into actual products.  Until then, IBM still reigns supreme as far as innovation in large corporations.  IBM isn't exactly an upstart, of course, and their track record for turning research into innovative products isn't exactly stellar, but they've done so much for so long that they've done it by the sheer brute force of the law of large numbers.

  • User profile image
    amotif

    Beer28 wrote:
    BTW: I have the same company position rank as Ballmer now, except I make practically nothing in comparison and I don't get to ride in cool private jets(or airplanes of any kind for that matter)


    When you start producing the same value for your company that these guys do you can have a raise. Tongue Out


  • User profile image
    footballism

    SCMcDonnell wrote:

       Ballmer said:“We’ve got very smart people just working on innovation, innovation, innovation.”
       Ballmer said.:“We know we have to push, push, push, push, push to be better.”



    This lets me think of his classical statement: developer,  developer,  developer:p

    Sheva

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