Segmenting Products

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-07-06 Print this article Print

But all products after Longhorn will deliver on integrated innovation by building on its next-generation capabilities, Ballmer said, adding that great innovations are not quick and easy. "Windows 1, 3 and 2000 all took time, and all were worth it. Longhorn has even more innovation and will be worth it, too. Bet on it," he said. But he cautioned staff that the company needs to deliver products and services that do more to enable the complete customer experience. Products also must be better segmented for users with different needs.
"And we must evolve marketing to focus more squarely on the value proposition throughout the product life cycle, not just at launch. So many customers have yet to deploy our most recent advances, so we must not only help them understand why to deploy, but also demonstrate the benefits of deploying before we reach the Longhorn generation," he said.
Addressing the fact that many customers are shunning new products and continuing to use their legacy systems, Ballmer said Microsoft needs to work to change a number of customer perceptions, "including the views that older versions of Office and Windows are good enough and that Microsoft is not sufficiently focused on security. "We must emphasize key positive perceptions of the strong manageability, and developer and information-worker preference, for our platform. We are effectively using independent studies by Forrester Research, the Yankee Group, IDC, Giga, Bearing Point and many others to change perceptions of the advantages of Windows over Linux when it comes to total cost of ownership, functionality and productivity advantages, support and security. We need to do work like this in every business to get customers to recognize our work and appreciate it fully," he said. Staff members also need to make it business-as-usual to listen to the voices of customers and partners. "We need to be especially effective in hearing and satisfying the people who use our products every day—consumers, information workers, IT pros and developers," he said. When Microsoft talks about "excellence," it means consistent, high-quality (and low-cost) execution in all it does, from creating products to serving customers and operating the business. "Were taking our work in security to the next level by implementing the Security Development Lifecycle [SDL] for all future products. "This involves mandatory annual security training for all engineers working in product-development groups, and a series of security-related milestones integrated into the software development process of each engineering team," he said. Next Page: Balancing employee benefits and the companys stock price.

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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