Ballmer Tries to Offset Flak over Vista Ship Date

In light of Microsoft's share price sliding more than 2 percent on Vista shipping concerns, the company says it will never take five years to develop another version of Windows.

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REDMOND—Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tried to offset some of the fallout from what Wall Street sees as the companys hedging on when Windows Vista would ship.

In a talk about shareholder value at its annual financial analyst meeting at the campus here on July 27, and after the companys stock fell more than 2 percent or $0.50 to a market close of $23.87 on Vista shipping concerns, Ballmer stressed that Microsoft would never take as long to ship another version of Windows.

"Some of the things we work on will take a number of years, but we will never repeat what happened with Windows Vista again. We wont ever take five years to develop another version of Windows," he said.

Ballmer also talked about how it was necessary for Microsoft to have a long-term approach and invest early and heavily in new products and technologies, which does not always yield a speedy return.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about what Microsoft executives had to say at the annual financial analyst meeting on when Windows Vista would ship.

Citing its investments in nascent markets for the software maker like the HPC (high performance computing) space, Ballmer said these investments would take time to yield a return.

"We have to value all kinds of innovation. We need to be able to innovate and build on our own, and we also need to be able to buy innovation," before looking at the spending and investment opportunities and challenges that faced the company, he said.

"Almost every technology we have banked on succeeding has done so, or we are telling you that they are still going to, with the exception of Microsoft Bob [a user friendly interface for Windows], which Ill cop to in advance," Ballmer quipped.

"Theres a Sony that lives inside of us and theres a Yahoo or Google that lurks inside of us," he said, adding that when he talked about multiple-cores he meant the company needed to be in all of the big, successful high-growth businesses.

You have to be optimistic to make the big bets in the future that Microsoft did, and these were large in both a financial and customer-scenario sense, Ballmer said, adding that Microsoft was closing in on market leaders in search relevance.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCan Windows and open source learn to play nice? Click here to read more.

Because Microsoft is multicore, it has the opportunity for long-term persistent growth, he said, adding that no big technology company has ever managed to be multicore until Microsoft.

"For years we were a software company and people said wed never be more than a one-trick pony. Today we already have two cores," he said.

Microsoft continues to have good commercial success against its commercial competitors, but the open-source business model is one it could not embrace, so it has to deliver superior value and total cost of ownership.

"We will continue to compete and we will have to be diligent about our competitors forever," he said.

With regard to ad funded revenue, Ballmer said that competing with this business model was high on his priority queue.

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