Best Brains on Security
Ballmer asserted that there will be fewer security complaints a year from now, and that it is a top priority for Microsoft. "We have our best brains on it. We understand this is a customer satisfaction issuea competitive issue. It could differentiate us from the competition. Were trying to train 500,000 people on the best way to protect systems."But Microsoft is focusing on how to provide access to information in a "more intelligent fashion" and on how to manage applications at a lower cost. "The real question is, How do we get there? We start from our heritage of the client and information worker" who is using Microsoft Office, he said. The other part of Microsofts heritage is working with software developers. "More people use our platforms and tools to write applications than anything else out there." Although he acknowledged that management software has not been a "strength" for Microsoft, it is "an area weve really made an effort in," he said, pointing to Microsofts Dynamic Systems Initiative. "This is where we have an opportunity to distinguish ourselves." Rather than engaging more with customers by beefing up its consulting services, Microsoft is "trying to engineer products so they are simpler to deploy so customers dont have to mobilize 1,000 people. The right approach is to re-engineer the software so there is less total cost and man hours necessary [to deploy systems and applications]," he said. For Web services, Ballmer said Microsoft is not treating management as an afterthought. Its first focus for that technology was with .Net development, but Microsoft is now working to provide its customers with the tools to build in the manageability for Web services in Visual Studio. He also held out the possible acquisition of a software company that provides the capability to build in management of XML services. "Stand by for news there," he said.
Ballmer deflected questions about Microsofts response to the trend toward on-demand or utility computing, calling efforts by IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and others "good advertising."