Ballmer Unveils New Developer Tools

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-05-24 Print this article Print

Microsoft's CEO announced Web Services Enhancement version 2.0 at the TechEd conference, as well as the beta for the company's new IBF tool.

SAN DIEGO—One of the biggest challenges of the current economic and IT environment is that customers have been under enormous pressure to do more with less, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told a packed house in his opening keynote here at the annual TechEd conference. In an address entitled "Value across the lifecycle: doing more with less," an upbeat and energetic Ballmer said a pattern of good solid increases in IT spending was on the horizon, but the pressures to do new projects would exceed investment in IT technology, and to lose sight of this would be a mistake. "So the focus has to be on productivity and the total cost of ownership. When we have issues like we have over the past few years with security … thats a setback and we need to beat this problem so we can help improve productivity and reduce TCO," he said.
"I think the next 10 years will bring more positive change and innovation in our industry than in the last 10 years. Ten years ago most people didnt have PCs, cell phones and werent using the Internet," Ballmer said, asking the audience if they believed the world of IT would be dramatically different in 10 years.
Most did, but for those who didnt, Ballmer quipped that "you can meet me backstage where well have a conversation about this." Microsofts unique role in serving the IT market was to bring integration of products and innovation, he said, and while it was working on this with Longhorn, the next version of Windows, that has taken a backseat to the security updates coming in Windows XP SP2. Microsoft had to be responsive to its customers and their insistence on responsiveness had increased even more over the last few years. Ballmer said one of the things he was proudest of in this area was Watson, the automatic error reporting system. Asking the audience if they had ever got the Watson error message, to which every hand was raised, he quipped "I thought statistically some of you might have." Security was an important pillar of the responsiveness theme from Microsoft, where "security is job one. The problems you are having keeping your systems up is unacceptable. But there is no immediate solution. We have an installed base of more then 600 million and we can also never rely on having a perfect release," he said. Microsoft is working on the core quality of security and on building layers to help protect systems, and is engaging with partners to respond quickly when there is an attack, Ballmer said. Click here to read more about Microsofts security initiatives. Turning his attention to spam, Ballmer said this was more annoying and problematic for many users and is another big area Microsoft is investing in. The number one question asked by the 130 global CEOs and their spouses who had visited Microsofts campus last week was, "When are you going to get rid of spam?" Microsoft had dialed up its focus and was concentrating on three main areas in this regard: protection, filters, screens and the like; prevention, where it was working with ISVs to screen certain IP addresses and shut them down if they were found to be spammers; and technologies that made it more expensive to be in the spamming business—something that forces cost in the system by making the sender prove his identity. "The big problem with spam today is that its too cheap to send," Ballmer said. Next page: WSE and IBF.

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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