Microsoft: Enterprise Target Elusive

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2001-08-06 Print this article Print

Microsoft Corp. last week rolled out a bevy of senior executives to sell the company and its vision to a group of financial analysts and press at its Redmond, Wash., campus.

Microsoft Corp. last week rolled out a bevy of senior executives to sell the company and its vision to a group of financial analysts and press at its Redmond, Wash., campus.

But beneath all the fluff and strong marketing language, executives stressed the companys renewed commitment to achieving solid profit growth, the necessary refocusing of the company to achieve this goal and the need to break further ground in the enterprise. Microsoft President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Belluzzo conceded that the company needed to change, not just in terms of products and technology but also across all aspects of its business.

Leading its list of priorities is energizing the PC, which would extend its core business into the enterprise.

"We are focusing on reaching out and building revenue with the products we have and turning this to revenue growth," Belluzzo said. "We are also making investments and initiatives in a big way, evaluating all aspects of our business and disinvesting where necessary to refocus our vision."

This is an "exciting period of transformation for Microsoft across our business as we grow our core base and continue to work to grow new businesses. But execution is key over the next 18 months," Belluzzo said.

CEO Steve Ballmer talked up the potential of the companys new business strategy. While one part of Microsofts business is dependent on PC sales growth, the company has diversified in other areas. Its enterprise business is now "material," while other areas are still growing, Ballmer said.

Eric Rudder, vice president of technical strategy, also stressed how the company is changing its focus and concentrating increasingly on providing customer solutions rather than just the technology with which to do this.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) Web services and its .Net platform are the vehicles Microsoft will use to achieve new solutions, and at the core of those is the Windows .Net server as well as other BackOffice components such as SQL Server, Rudder said.

"In fiscal 2002, Microsoft is committed to moving from being a business parts provider to becoming a true end-to-end enterprise player," Rudder said. "To do that, we need to provide vertical and horizontal solutions."

Jean Bosman, an analyst for International Data Corp., of Framingham, Mass., who attended the event, told eWeek that what she found interesting was Microsofts clear repositioning of the PC as "essentially the home server. Bill Gates and Rick Belluzzo, in particular, also acknowledged, repeatedly, that it would take a while for Microsoft to become as big in the enterprise space as it is on the PC side."

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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