The Upgrade Issue

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

Many customers used to complain that you had too many upgrades too often. But Software Assurance did change that to an extent in that many users thought they would get a client upgrade within those three years, and now it is clear that many wont. What are you doing within Microsoft to make sure those customers are kept happy as this has the potential to be a very big issue? This is a very important issue for us. As you probably know we are already providing our Software Assurance accounts and there will be even more software that we will be announcing later this year that will be available to those accounts. This is all part of a strategy to assure that there is value that came with that, but we already have some software that certain accounts have been beta testing for some time, and most of it is related to service-level capabilities. So I would say that we are acutely aware of it and will continue to work on delivering some software for those customers.
Who do you see as your biggest competitor for Windows, and has the competitive landscape changed at all recently?
On the client there are so many to chose from. But the landscape has not really changed. Linux coming from IBM and Red Hat [Inc.] and the other distribution shipping that, with , and then theres Apple [Computer Inc.]. For us its also the installed base, but I think a few of us have always seen IBM leading the Linux charge and is a huge competitor for us on that front and probably leads our top of mind. But the other somewhat pureplays that exist like the Red Hats of the world and the Lindows, all have targeted areas where they may be strong in an emerging market here and a particular strength there. They all fit into that. Red Hat last week announced a new desktop offering that is directly and aggressively targeting those Microsoft customers facing the end-of-life support for their Microsoft products. Click here for more on Red Hats Linux desktop. The first thing is that we are very cognizant of the end-of-life aspects, and I dont have anything else to say other than we are cognizant of that and we will do the right thing. We also believe that people are going to stay where they are today because they are happy and the big thing is that if someone is really looking ahead they are going to be thinking about the next generation of applications and they are going to want to move to Longhorn. It will take them [competitors] a long time to clone the core technologies we have in Longhorn. They might do a surface-level thing, but we didnt spend all these billions [of dollars] indiscriminately. This is hard stuff and is not like cloning the moonscape we had in bitmap or the Bliss screen we had in XP. The bottom line is that it is competition and I hope that customers see that we are offering great value for the price we are charging. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
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