Microsoft Takes Aim at IBM with New Marketing Campaign

Microsoft's new $500 million 'people-ready' push is the start of its sales and marketing campaign for the business versions of its forthcoming Windows and Office product lineup.

NEW YORK—Microsoft launched on March 16 a new "people-ready" campaign for its existing and future products that are aimed at business users.

CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at the ImpactPeople business-user conference here, introduced the software makers latest tagline: "Microsoft: Software for the people-ready business."

Microsoft is planning to spend $500 million this year on the people-ready sales and marketing campaign, Ballmer said. The company is using the NCAA basketball tournament that begins this week to kick off the campaign.

Microsoft has been using the slogan "Helping people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential" as the companys mission statement for some time now. The new "people-ready" emphasis is an outgrowth of that vision statement, but is more specific to the Windows and Office family of products.

"Successful businesses succeed based on the quality and performance of their people," Ballmer told the hundreds of business users attending the ImpactPeople conference.

Ballmers pitch: Microsofts business software, including the forthcoming Windows Vista Enterprise Edition, Office 2007 Enterprise Edition, Exchange 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and other related products, will enable companies to improve their team-productivity capabilities.

"We think this is a pretty unique vision," Ballmer said. "We dont think its shared widely by … people serving IT needs."

In a question-and-answer session with press and analysts following his remarks, Ballmer singled out IBM as the primary target of the new people-ready campaign.

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