Was the outcome of your negotiations with EC [European Commission] a catalyst to getting the negotiation done with Sun? No. I think Sun had a desire to get the thing done quickly. I think it was convenient for them to talk about it along with quarterly results.Does that mean that they accepted conditions that you had previously considered acceptable but that they had not? Oh, noIm not saying that. We were continuing to work on the deal. But everybody said it would be nice to get this done by the end of the quarter. Having a time deadline, as all good reporters understand, is the mother of invention. Going back to how it got started, let me tell you about the Easter invitation. Before Scott [McNealy] called for golf, Scotts wife invited my wife over for Easter. My wife doesnt know Scotts wife. There are two families that are good friends of the Ballmers and good friends of the McNealysthey happened to be with the McNealys in Palm Springs [Calif.], and they thought I was going to be there with my wife and kids. It turned out we were going someplace else for Easter. But Scotts wife checked with Scott. At the time, I guess he was sort of thinking about this in a preliminary way. Could you outline the high points of your enterprise strategy? Let me set the overall context. We start with the mission of helping customers realize potential. It all starts with us having lots of customers. We like having lots of customers. You may think that sounds funny but in some businesses, there are not a lot of customers to have. But our goals are high unit volume and high customer satisfaction across a large constituency. We are also interested in revenue and profit growth. But we assess impact in terms of the number of customers we have. It builds from the theme of helping individuals and businesses around the world realize their potential. When I think about the things we are working on I think about four things: First: integrated innovation. We have to innovate, and the whole of what we do has to be bigger than the sum of the parts. E-mail is a good example. To really do e-mail right takes at lease five of our businesses. We have to innovate and we need integration across our businesses. Bill Gates is spending the lions share of his time on these integrated innovation scenarios. The second area we have prioritized is much improved customer responsiveness. Security really dramatizes that. How do we know what is important to respond to? Weve gotten much better at capturing that data down to including Watson, which is the little message that asks the user to report events to us. We have taken a hit on Longhorn features in order to make sure we prioritize what we need to do in security. The third thing is overall excellence. To achieve engineering excellence, weve revamped processes quite a bit. Last on the list is value propositionto make sure we have a clear value proposition for people. So: Excellence, integrated innovation, responsiveness, and clear value proposition. We want to be the innovative trusted partner of our customers, starting in the large enterprise. A lot of what we have been doing is trying to put legal matters behind us. And as we respond to security issues, were seeking to reposition the company as a trusted responsibleI wont say maturebut responsible, company. Were not old and stodgy, but weve come out of adolescence and were now into our adult prime. Were out of that herky-jerky adolescent awkward phase. Next page: The security problem.
Some analysts believe that the Sun deal may have a significant impact on the outcome of the ECs antitrust case against Microsoft. Click here to get the full story.