Page Two

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-10-02 Print this article Print

But Ballmer acknowledged that, despite its best efforts, customers still encounter bugs in Microsoft software. While Windows 2000 and Windows XP have improved the stability and reliability of its platform, "and we eliminated many flaws, we did not find all the bugs in these or other products. "Nor did we find all the software conflicts that can cause applications to freeze up or otherwise fail to perform as expected," he conceded.
While Microsoft also has "a long way to go" on the road to further improving its products and providing greater customer satisfaction, it has identified some near-term objectives over the past year.
These include eliciting more customer feedback; offering easier, more consistent ways for customers to update their products; and providing them with more effective, readily available support and service. "Customers expect the same high quality and reliability in computing devices and software as they do in consumer products. But meeting their expectations is much harder, and not just because information technology is more complex and interdependent," he said. If technology products are to approach the satisfying consistency of consumer staples, which they should, the industry needs to do a better job of connecting with its customers. "For a company such as Microsoft, with many millions of customers around the world, the connections must be very broad," Ballmer said. Throwing a piece of personal information into the mix, Ballmer admitted that, prior to working for Microsoft, his only other job had been marketing "brownie mix and blueberry muffin mix for one of the largest consumer products companies. Im glad I decided to join Microsoft 22 years ago, when it was a little software startup," he said. Microsoft is also, ultimately, trying to change how software developers do their jobs on a daily basis. The company is working to establish more of a direct, interactive connection between developers and customers. "To get there, we intend to listen even more closely to our customers, consult with them regularly, and be more responsive. This is the message I am sending to all of Microsofts employees, and it is my commitment to you," Ballmer concluded.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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