Tom Brokaw Brings a Conscience to Microsoft Launch

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-02-27 Print this article Print

Hitting the delete button will not eradicate world poverty and hunger, the former NBC Nightly News anchor said.

LOS ANGELES-Microsoft trotted out NBC journalist and former anchor Tom Brokaw at its launch event for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, who made it clear he's not looking for a new career writing code or designing new networks.

An avid user of IT, Brokaw did say, "its inner workings remain a mystery to me," before lauding the power of technology and the potential it has to change all of our lives in a positive way.

But Brokaw also reminded the audience that "hitting the delete button will not eradicate world poverty and hunger," adding that "it will do us little good to wire the world if we short circuit our conscience."

Introducing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Brokaw quipped that "you are allowed to say 'Yahoo' as you welcome him."

In his keynote, delivered at the Feb. 27 event titled "Heroes happen {here}" at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Ballmer praised the three products behind the launch, even though only the server software is actually starting to ship.

Visual Studio 2008 was released late last year, while SQL Server 2008 has been pushed back to late 2008.

Ballmer also talked up the company's Dynamic IT initiative, which is designed to help customers optimize their people, processes and technology, effectively positioning IT as a strategic asset for their businesses. "People need IT to help them do more with less," he said.

Ballmer said Microsoft helps customers through introducing new releases while helping them maximize the benefit of the products they already have.

"These products will simplify management and enable customers to focus more on driving their businesses forward," he said.

Ballmer identified four big trends: software plus services; virtualization; openness; and the trend back to a rich user experience.

"These trends give us the opportunity to drive forward our Dynamic IT strategy," he said, adding that the three products being released today hit the "sweet spot" of that strategy.

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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