Microsoft to Buckle Down to Nail Security

Windows client VP Tom Button says security tops the list of "the basics" the company must "nail," and Windows XP Service Pack 2 will bring big enhancements.

SEATTLE—Microsoft executives on Tuesday admitted that the company and its partners must do a far better job of "just the basics" and said they need to "nail the fundamentals," starting with security.

"We have a lot of work to do to make that happen. The biggest investment from Microsoft on that front is in the Windows XP Service Pack 2, which will deliver security enhancements," Tom Button, Microsofts corporate vice president for the Windows client, said at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here Tuesday.

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read an interview with Button by Microsoft Watchs Mary Jo Foley, click here.

In a session titled "Windows Business Priorities and Opportunities," Button said, "We need to drive the PC industrys health overall by increasing customer satisfaction and trust and decreasing support costs."

A great opportunity also exists for Microsoft to migrate its installed base and move from legacy Windows 9x PCs [those running Windows 98, 98SE, Windows ME and Windows 95] to computers based on Windows XP SP2—and to get the existing XP base to SP2.

Button said the PCs still running legacy 9x code comprise more than half of the overall installed base, adding that many of Windows XPs features are largely misunderstood and undermarketed.

"You will see a lot more communication from Microsoft targeting the 9x code base, but the reality is that the number of people running the 9x who actually have XP-capable hardware is pretty low," Button said.

"So, most of the opportunity here is not about selling a retail copy of Windows XP onto an old piece of hardware; its really about helping people understand the benefits of moving on to a new PC or of adding a new PC to their lives. So, a lot of the initiatives revolve around working with our OEM partners to drive demand," he said.

Microsofts Protect your PC campaign this fall will center on the release of Windows XP SP2, which has advanced security technologies to provide an improved security infrastructure, security tools for manageability and control, as well as improved and more secure user experiences, Button said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about the high marks XP SP2 is getting from security experts.

"Microsoft is planning a unified approach to our fourth-quarter launches, including end-user outreach," he said. "The campaign kicks off in October and will overlap with the new security campaign around XP SP2, and then our new products and technologies will be released in mid-October."

Next Page: Growth in PC shipments looks strong for 2004, Button says.