“IT people all got their budget whacked,” according to Steve Ballmer. “If I don’t defer to that powerful market, these people will really think I’m out of touch.”
The CEO of Microsoft Corp. was in Toronto on Wednesday to officially launch Windows 7, Windows Server R2 and Exchange 2010, a triumvirate of products he said will create huge efficiencies and cost savings within enterprise IT departments.
In his keynote address Q&A and in a conversation with a handful of journalists from national media organizations, Ballmer directly responded to the top three questions our readers wanted him to address. Here are his answers:
In the normal course of events Windows 7 would simply be considered a service pack for Vista, why should the users who made the switch to Vista now be forced to pay again? It seems to me that those are the people that were already on side but now you are going to make them pay for your mistake.
‑ Jim Banks
Ballmer: I’d stay on Windows Vista. I don’t think Vista was a mistake at all. I think it was controversial – we did break compatibility in the interests of security, there’s no question. And I probably would have handled some things different, but if you take a Vista product today, with the service packs we’ve made, with the work that was done with device manufacturers and software vendors, it’s a good product. Windows 7 is another turn of the crank – there’s always another turn of the crank – but I wouldn’t recommend for people who have got Vista deployed, or IT managers, to feel compelled to move forward. We’re supportive of Vista now, we’ll continue to support it, I have to acknowledge that there was more “hubbub” shall we say in the market that perhaps I would have liked, but I just came from a room of some 650 IT people, and about 30 per cent of the companies in the room have Vista deployed. We’ve happy they have it deployed. If they want to move to Windows 7 great, if they want to say on Windows Vista that’s great too.