Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested that even the worst economy in decades won't prevent IT administrators and the enterprise from executing a tech refresh, in comments seemingly aimed at those reluctant to embrace Microsoft's upcoming operating system, Windows 7. Despite the recession, Microsoft plans to invest more than $9.5 billion in R&D in the coming year.
CEO Steve Ballmer suggested during a July 14
speech in New Orleans that the
economic recession won't necessarily remain an impediment to enterprises
refreshing their IT infrastructure.
"This is not an economic prediction, just a thought exercise,"
Ballmer told a large audience at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.
"What if the economy doesn't pick up again in seven years-do you think
there would be an economic refresh cycle in the next seven years? Even if you
take the assumption that it won't turn around for a long period of time, every
minute of every day we're building a pent-up demand for IT."
Ballmer also said Microsoft will continue to spend a great deal of money on
R&D, even in the recessionary environment.
"We're investing and keeping our R&D spending flat at $9.5
billion," he said. "That is a testament to our belief and optimism
about the future. We're going to keep the same old Microsoft approach:
Microsoft has a particularly vested interest in companies opening their
wallets for IT in 2009. During the four days of the Worldwide Partner
Conference, the company has demonstrated a wide swath of its upcoming products,
including Office 2010, Windows 7, Silverlight 3, Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows
more information on Office 2010, please click here.
One of its main products, Microsoft Office 2010, will be launched as a free
online service for subscribers of Microsoft Live, although customers will need
to pay for the hosted subscription and on-premises application versions. Azure,
Microsoft's public cloud-computing platform, will be offered for free through
November's Professional Developers Conference, at which point Microsoft will
institute a payment structure.
Despite the massive Microsoft push, however, there are signs that IT
administrators and executives may be disinclined to invest their dwindling
funds in a refresh. A recent survey by ScriptLogic, for example, suggested
that six out of 10 companies will avoid purchasing Windows 7 when the new
makes its general-release rollout on Oct. 22.
Those delaying the operating-system upgrade-or denying it altogether-cited
costs as one of their chief reasons for doing so.
In an attempt to spread Windows 7 as aggressively as possible despite the
economic doldrums, Microsoft is planning a broad campaign of price cuts and
sales through online retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon.com. The new
operating system will sell for roughly 10 percent less than its much-maligned
predecessor, Windows Vista.