ORLANDO, Fla.-At a talk before thousands of IT professionals at Gartner's annual expo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer defended the company's rollout of its Windows Vista operating system nearly two years after the OS was delivered to negative reviews.
Ballmer, speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo here Oct. 16, Ballmer used a familiar Microsoft line in defending Vista. He told the audience that Vista was being adopted faster in both the consumer market and the enterprise than when the company rolled out the XP operating system. Just before the talk, Gartner analysts Neil MacDonald and David Smith told the audience that only 10 percent of enterprises have adopted Vista.
Those statistics did not deter Ballmer, who pushed a hard sales pitch and urged those enterprises not to wait for the release of Microsoft's next operating system-Windows 7-but to adopt Vista now. He added that Vista will be compatible with the Windows 7 operating system. Ballmer said concerns about security meant that Vista would not work with certain applications and caused some compatibility problems.
"I think Vista was the right thing," said Ballmer. "You can talk about some of the compatibility issues, but we have over 180 million users, and this has been the fastest accepted operating system that we have ever done. I know that it is not without controversy, but it has been extremely successful. [Internet Explorer] 7 is a major step forward, and IE 8 is going to be a major step forward, as well as Office 2007."
Ballmer also brushed off concerns that Windows 7 will just be a ramp-up or slightly cleaned-up version of Vista. Ballmer said Microsoft engineers have worked to improve the user interface of the new operating system, allow for more use of touch and multitouch functionality, offer better tools for managing applications, and increase the overall performance of the OS.