Ballmer Beats Drum for IT Workers

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-06-06 Print this article Print

At the sold-out Tech Ed conference, Steve Ballmer says Microsoft is working on big infrastructure improvements that will boost customer satisfaction and personal productivity.

ORLANDO, Fla.—There has never been a more exciting time to be in information technology than right now, and the rate of innovation and impact that IT will have on the world over the next decade will be larger than its impact in the past 10 years, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told attendees Monday at the sold-out Tech Ed conference here. In his opening keynote address to several thousand attendees, titled "Enabling People to Drive Business Success," Ballmer said all of them had "got through the dot-com bubble and bust and are now in a period of sustained growth for our industry." This upbeat view is backed up by the fact that more than 11,000 people are attending this years Tech Ed, with the show selling out earlier than ever before, Ballmer said. For Microsoft, he added, this year also marks the 10-year anniversary of Windows 95.
"I expect the next 10 years to be even more exciting," Ballmer said, admitting that challenges also exist, and that one of them is helping IT managers assist others with working more productively.
This new world of work includes improving customer satisfaction, improving personal productivity, finding the right information and engaging in the business process, Ballmer said. "We know that there are pain points out there that are felt by information workers," he said. "So, if we at Microsoft and all of you are really going to do our job, we have to allow them to really engage. Microsoft has to give you the tools to enable this new style of work." Read more here about Bill Gates views on this new world of work. Ballmer was interrupted by Samantha Bee, the anchor of an imaginary morning IT show called "The Techie Show," who listed the top five things information workers want. These are: one identity and password; the ability to see the online presence of others who are available; network access; synchronization across all devices; and collaboration with others outside the company. The standard response from IT pros to these demands, she said, has been a simple "no can do." Saying that Microsoft Corp. has work to do on these fronts, Ballmer said the company had been working hard on its .Net infrastructure for more than five years now. He thanked .Net developers around the world who are designing and building applications. The applications must be up and running for information workers, and Microsofts Dynamic Systems Initiative is approaching an important milestone with the release of Visual Studio 2005 this year, he said. Visual Studio 2005 builds management and instrumentation into every application, but this is an area that needs more core infrastructure, Ballmer said. Part of this infrastructure is delivered through applications such as Office, Outlook and Exchange. Information workers must have access to the information they need without compromise, and this must be a goal despite the challenges of security and remote access, he said. Next Page: A self-service infrastructure.

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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