July 28, 2005 11:55 AM PDT

Ballmer: High-end Windows, Office coming

REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told analysts Thursday that Microsoft is planning new, higher-priced versions of both Windows and Office in the coming years as part of its effort to grow sales.

Ballmer said that the company will add both high-end desktop editions and new server options in the next versions of Windows and Office.

Microsoft's chief executive made his comments at a company-sponsored financial analyst conference here.

Ballmer noted that the existing premium Windows XP Professional version had added billions of dollars of extra revenue for Microsoft. "We have plans in the Vista generation to introduce an Enterprise edition," Ballmer said in a speech kicking off the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting.

Ballmer also said that Microsoft is planning a higher-end Office Premium version with Office 12 as well as an Office Server that carries with it an additional fee for each computer that accesses the productivity software.

Ballmer didn't specify what features will go into Office Premium or Windows Vista Enterprise Edition. The company launched the first test versions of Windows Vista and a corresponding server version of the operating system on Wednesday.

Other Microsoft executives also declined to offer more details on the premium versions of Office and Windows.

"We haven't finalized details about what we might do," group vice president Jeff Raikes said, referring to what might go into a premium version of Office. He did reiterate that the company plans a number of server-based products, but declined to specify those as well.

"We have servers people haven't even written rumors about," he said.

The other part of Microsoft's growth strategy, Ballmer said, rests in its expansion into other areas, such as software for cell phones, game consoles and interactive television.

Ballmer noted that hundreds of millions of cell phones are sold each year, but that Microsoft's software today only runs on dozens of millions of cell phones.

"Some people may think we are standing still, but we are not," he said.

The CEO also focused a good deal of attention on the company's competition with Internet leaders such as Yahoo and Google.

"We have won on the desktop," Ballmer said. "Now we really are going to win on the Web."

Ballmer said the Web will be the No. 1 place to advertise, noting that there will eventually only be a handful of major places to advertise on the Internet. "You can rest assured this company will be one of them."

He also noted that the company has "dialed up the pace of acquisitions" in recent months.

"We are unlikely to do blockbuster acquisitions," he added. "We are not closed-minded to it, but they are less likely."

Ballmer also talked about opportunities to grow the Windows business by cutting down on piracy and heading into the few outposts, such as technical computing, in which the OS has yet to make significant inroads.

Earlier this week, Microsoft made mandatory a program that requires users to verify their Windows copy is genuine before downloading patches and add-ons.

As for high-performance computing, Ballmer said that is "mostly a Linux world today," but the company has added staff in that area and is working on a version of Windows for that market. He also said the company can grow its share of the server market by targeting specific areas, such as Web servers.

Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president in charge of Windows Server development, told CNET News.com last month that the company plans to introduce a re-architected edition of its Internet Information Services Web server as part of a Windows Server revamp in 2007.

107 comments

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unoriginal
honda already does this with acura. when will microsoft has an original idea? preferably one made up of letters that aren't already in the alphabet, otherwise they would be unoriginally plagiarizing whoever wrote the alphabet. shame on microsoft for copying honda. M(dollarsign) has gone too far this time! but i will not trade in my accord for an upscale copy of microsoft. because i am an elite honda purist and anything microsoft is anti-honda and evil.
Posted by Sam Papelbon (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re:unoriginal
not the best attempt at sarcasm I've seen. You can do better. Make it more funny, and less winy.
Posted by nmcphers (261 comments )
Link Flag
unoriginal
honda already does this with acura. when will microsoft has an original idea? preferably one made up of letters that aren't already in the alphabet, otherwise they would be unoriginally plagiarizing whoever wrote the alphabet. shame on microsoft for copying honda. M(dollarsign) has gone too far this time! but i will not trade in my accord for an upscale copy of microsoft. because i am an elite honda purist and anything microsoft is anti-honda and evil.
Posted by Sam Papelbon (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re:unoriginal
not the best attempt at sarcasm I've seen. You can do better. Make it more funny, and less winy.
Posted by nmcphers (261 comments )
Link Flag
Gimme a break Stevie-Bob
Steve, I have news for you. You have already lost the web wars. Google and Yahoo won it a long time back. Everyone is hip to your old bully tactics and the market has adjusted baby. You guys are stuck with no where to do but down.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Have a long way to go to win the web
"We have won on the desktop," Ballmer said. "Now we really are
going to win on the Web."

LOL. You could start by supporting web standards. CSS1 was
standardized in 1996 (9 years ago!) and it's still not fully supported
in IE. 90%+ of the web designers see IE as the bane of the web. You
could start by fixing that.
Posted by (56 comments )
Link Flag
70% Market Share by 2010
Sirius, I think you're correct. I can see a scenario where MS will be at 70% market share in the OS space in five years. I just don't see how they can possibly get around Linux and the newly open sourced Solaris.
Posted by (274 comments )
Link Flag
Gimme a break Stevie-Bob
Steve, I have news for you. You have already lost the web wars. Google and Yahoo won it a long time back. Everyone is hip to your old bully tactics and the market has adjusted baby. You guys are stuck with no where to do but down.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Have a long way to go to win the web
"We have won on the desktop," Ballmer said. "Now we really are
going to win on the Web."

LOL. You could start by supporting web standards. CSS1 was
standardized in 1996 (9 years ago!) and it's still not fully supported
in IE. 90%+ of the web designers see IE as the bane of the web. You
could start by fixing that.
Posted by (56 comments )
Link Flag
70% Market Share by 2010
Sirius, I think you're correct. I can see a scenario where MS will be at 70% market share in the OS space in five years. I just don't see how they can possibly get around Linux and the newly open sourced Solaris.
Posted by (274 comments )
Link Flag
if nothing else....
..... , MS has no intentions of going broke. It will be interesting
to read serious comments on the balance of price versus
performance for the golden eggs MS is about to lay.

It seems that these items aren't meant for anyone below
corporate level, so the typical Windows user can keep his wallet
in his pocket. And at the corporate level, Blaalmer seems to
admit that Linux/Unix dominates over anything Windows. This
may be a tight fight to MS.

One thing I will definitely avoid is buying any cell phone with MS
software on it. All I want is a cell phone that works as a phone. It
doesn;t have to do anything else - I don't want it to do anything
else. ANd it's not just MS software- I don't want anyone else's
software either, except for the basic phione functions.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer Knows He's in Trouble
Enterprise editions of Office. Enterprise editions of Windows. What on Earth can they add to these already overbloated pieces of code that will cause CIO's to rush out and spend more money on Microsoft products?

We're witnessing the beginning of a long downhill slide for Microsoft. They are unfocused. They are putting out products that have zero/zip/nada innovative features.

Many of us loyal Windows users are beginning to bolt for Linux and OSX, and once we're gone we ain't a comin' back.
Posted by (274 comments )
Link Flag
But Earl
It's the corporate level (enterprises) that have the resources to transition to another OS. I've spent my career working at places with 1,000's of desktops & those people WILL consider an alternative (Red Hat ?) if XP Pro gets too expensive - they will go. It's my dear old mum who won't move. She got XP pro in a store sale ( I told her that I find Pro to be more stable). She just won't buy ANY new OS.

P.S. Got my new cell phone last night. Instructions on how to place a call are on page 22 of the instructions - all the important stuff like how to take a picture or set up wallpaper come on the first 21 pages ;-)
Posted by (409 comments )
Link Flag
if nothing else....
..... , MS has no intentions of going broke. It will be interesting
to read serious comments on the balance of price versus
performance for the golden eggs MS is about to lay.

It seems that these items aren't meant for anyone below
corporate level, so the typical Windows user can keep his wallet
in his pocket. And at the corporate level, Blaalmer seems to
admit that Linux/Unix dominates over anything Windows. This
may be a tight fight to MS.

One thing I will definitely avoid is buying any cell phone with MS
software on it. All I want is a cell phone that works as a phone. It
doesn;t have to do anything else - I don't want it to do anything
else. ANd it's not just MS software- I don't want anyone else's
software either, except for the basic phione functions.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer Knows He's in Trouble
Enterprise editions of Office. Enterprise editions of Windows. What on Earth can they add to these already overbloated pieces of code that will cause CIO's to rush out and spend more money on Microsoft products?

We're witnessing the beginning of a long downhill slide for Microsoft. They are unfocused. They are putting out products that have zero/zip/nada innovative features.

Many of us loyal Windows users are beginning to bolt for Linux and OSX, and once we're gone we ain't a comin' back.
Posted by (274 comments )
Link Flag
But Earl
It's the corporate level (enterprises) that have the resources to transition to another OS. I've spent my career working at places with 1,000's of desktops & those people WILL consider an alternative (Red Hat ?) if XP Pro gets too expensive - they will go. It's my dear old mum who won't move. She got XP pro in a store sale ( I told her that I find Pro to be more stable). She just won't buy ANY new OS.

P.S. Got my new cell phone last night. Instructions on how to place a call are on page 22 of the instructions - all the important stuff like how to take a picture or set up wallpaper come on the first 21 pages ;-)
Posted by (409 comments )
Link Flag
Just make sure you have actual NEW features
in the "Enterprise" version. I hope that the highest end version will have *new*, enterprise-only features (like some SQL server built in). Otherwise the approach apparently favored by Microsoft is to make higher end versions by releasing crippled lower end ones. Just like what differentiates XP Home and Pro - Home has NOTHING extra for the home user, it's just crippled Pro - same with Pro, it's basically 2K with a new look nothing specific for the professional market that isn't there for the home market.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just make sure you have actual NEW features
in the "Enterprise" version. I hope that the highest end version will have *new*, enterprise-only features (like some SQL server built in). Otherwise the approach apparently favored by Microsoft is to make higher end versions by releasing crippled lower end ones. Just like what differentiates XP Home and Pro - Home has NOTHING extra for the home user, it's just crippled Pro - same with Pro, it's basically 2K with a new look nothing specific for the professional market that isn't there for the home market.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where's Open Office
Don't really care about next verision of Microsoft's Office. Been using 2000 for a long time now and don't have a reason to upgrade to fill MS's coffers. I'm waiting for OOo 2.0. Once that's out, I'll never buy another MS office suite again....btw, when the hell is OOo 2.0 coming out???
Posted by cschlise (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly
Who in their right mind would pay for MS Office when there is Open Office. It's free, good, and reads MS proprietry b/s formats.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
OOo or Wordperfect 12
Currently I have both WordPerfect 12 and OOo 2 beta on my computer. I am a die hard WordPerfect user these days, but I had some problems with a Word doc so I downloaded OOo 2 beta and it opened fine.

Personally, I have never liked the way Word and OpenOffice worked. You have to do quite a bit to get a little done. And neither are true WYSIWYG document editors. WordPerfect has had it's problems and will, like all software, have some more, but over all I find it to be better than OOo and Word.

If I had to choose between Word or OpenOffice I would choose OpenOffice. As far as I can tell you can do just about anything in it that you can do in Word. I'm sure some of the higher end features in Word you can't do in OpenOffice, but for basic document setup OpenOffice does a fine job. WordPerfect does a faster and better job, but for the money OpenOffice is good.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Where's Open Office
Don't really care about next verision of Microsoft's Office. Been using 2000 for a long time now and don't have a reason to upgrade to fill MS's coffers. I'm waiting for OOo 2.0. Once that's out, I'll never buy another MS office suite again....btw, when the hell is OOo 2.0 coming out???
Posted by cschlise (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly
Who in their right mind would pay for MS Office when there is Open Office. It's free, good, and reads MS proprietry b/s formats.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
OOo or Wordperfect 12
Currently I have both WordPerfect 12 and OOo 2 beta on my computer. I am a die hard WordPerfect user these days, but I had some problems with a Word doc so I downloaded OOo 2 beta and it opened fine.

Personally, I have never liked the way Word and OpenOffice worked. You have to do quite a bit to get a little done. And neither are true WYSIWYG document editors. WordPerfect has had it's problems and will, like all software, have some more, but over all I find it to be better than OOo and Word.

If I had to choose between Word or OpenOffice I would choose OpenOffice. As far as I can tell you can do just about anything in it that you can do in Word. I'm sure some of the higher end features in Word you can't do in OpenOffice, but for basic document setup OpenOffice does a fine job. WordPerfect does a faster and better job, but for the money OpenOffice is good.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Hey, Steve, how about what we really need? A LOWER-priced version.
Oh, that's right, I forgot. Microsoft does not have a monopoly, and even if they did, they certainly wouldn't abuse that market power.

Come on, open source!
Posted by ehinkle (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey, Steve, how about what we really need? A LOWER-priced version.
Oh, that's right, I forgot. Microsoft does not have a monopoly, and even if they did, they certainly wouldn't abuse that market power.

Come on, open source!
Posted by ehinkle (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Higher Priced?
I thought that MS office was already high priced.
Posted by Mumbles (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Higher Priced?
I thought that MS office was already high priced.
Posted by Mumbles (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where's my coffee cup?
MS Office is already one of the most expensive office products out there. And they are going to charge yet even more? I expect that there will be many many new features that actually want to make me upgrade. I expect there will even be a small mechanical hand that comes out of the CD Drive and serves me coffee in a cup. But knowing MS, there will probably be only interface changes (it will look more "cool"), and a few obscure features which only corporate clients may (or may not) have a use for, and hopefully they will remove Clippy.

If no such new features are included, I expect they won't boost sales like they expect. In fact, when is raising the prices a way to increase sales? I'd never heard of that. "Come to our clearance sale. Don't enjoy rebates. All items marked up 25%". Just hilarous.
Posted by Sentinel (199 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where's my coffee cup?
MS Office is already one of the most expensive office products out there. And they are going to charge yet even more? I expect that there will be many many new features that actually want to make me upgrade. I expect there will even be a small mechanical hand that comes out of the CD Drive and serves me coffee in a cup. But knowing MS, there will probably be only interface changes (it will look more "cool"), and a few obscure features which only corporate clients may (or may not) have a use for, and hopefully they will remove Clippy.

If no such new features are included, I expect they won't boost sales like they expect. In fact, when is raising the prices a way to increase sales? I'd never heard of that. "Come to our clearance sale. Don't enjoy rebates. All items marked up 25%". Just hilarous.
Posted by Sentinel (199 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing to stop them.
When you're the only game in town, you can charge whatever you want. Windows XP Pro and Office together cost more than what you can buy the hardware to run it on for. It's rediculous.
Posted by ss_Whiplash (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing to stop them.
When you're the only game in town, you can charge whatever you want. Windows XP Pro and Office together cost more than what you can buy the hardware to run it on for. It's rediculous.
Posted by ss_Whiplash (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can't wait for $500 Latehorn and $1200 Office
I can't wait to see the gremlins gobbling up $500 copies of
Latehorn at Best Buy because it's so amazing and wonderful and
"completely new". Then we will see Office for Enterprise at $1200.
The only difference? A business using Office now needs to
purchase an enterprise license to use the software. Muahahaha.

While the Mac people who purcahsed Tiger for $60 and Office:Mac
for $149 laugh all the way to the bank.
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
free software
the biggest laugh is when you discover that us linux users paid £0 for our software which includes the OS AND the OpenOffice.org suite. :D
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
Link Flag
I can't wait for $500 Latehorn and $1200 Office
I can't wait to see the gremlins gobbling up $500 copies of
Latehorn at Best Buy because it's so amazing and wonderful and
"completely new". Then we will see Office for Enterprise at $1200.
The only difference? A business using Office now needs to
purchase an enterprise license to use the software. Muahahaha.

While the Mac people who purcahsed Tiger for $60 and Office:Mac
for $149 laugh all the way to the bank.
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
free software
the biggest laugh is when you discover that us linux users paid £0 for our software which includes the OS AND the OpenOffice.org suite. :D
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
Link Flag
Raising prices can work
For ecample, Abercrombie and Fitch did that in the face of declining sales serveral years back, instead of discounting. Its credited with their growth and success. However, I'm not sure it will work with something a bit less faddish.
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Raising prices can work
For ecample, Abercrombie and Fitch did that in the face of declining sales serveral years back, instead of discounting. Its credited with their growth and success. However, I'm not sure it will work with something a bit less faddish.
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Typical MS spin, inaccurate or all out lies.
Sure they will, take over the web that is. Look at the Web Server Survey at www.netcraft.com. Excuse me Mr Butthead....I mean Balmer...Why has MS been sliding in market share for the last few years. You only peaked at 34%, now you are about to drop below 20%. MS is insigificant.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Typical MS spin, inaccurate or all out lies.
Sure they will, take over the web that is. Look at the Web Server Survey at www.netcraft.com. Excuse me Mr Butthead....I mean Balmer...Why has MS been sliding in market share for the last few years. You only peaked at 34%, now you are about to drop below 20%. MS is insigificant.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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