I have heard and met Ballmer many times and I love his passion for Microsoft and the solution providers. Yesterday was no different. He is a natural salesman. He even gave out his email address firstname.lastname@example.org for any one who is interested in HyperV. He said he would be more than happy to sell it to anyone personally. He said HyperV is cheaper, better and more integrated than VMware. Notice how Ballmer mentioned cheaper before anything else. HyperV is $28 as part of Windows Server.
I don’t see Ballmer as the used car salesman, however. I see him more as a passionate travel agent. Let’s face it people are more exciting dealing with travel agents than used car salesman. With Vista customers either complained or simply skipped it altogether. Selling Vista needed a used car sales approach, but to his credit Ballmer admitted that Vista had its problems. Top Microsoft channel partner Softchoice for instance found that the readiness of the average North American PC to handle Vista’s system requirements was going to be a challenge early on. Ballmer added that there were many customers where Vista did perform well at. But that is yesterday’s news.
Windows 7 is out today and people like it. Softchoice did another study on Windows 7 readiness and it is an exact opposite to its Vista report.
I spoke to the City of London’s IT manager and he told me that city workers were demanding it after they saw the first roll out.
This kind of demand is vital for the channel to really grow their business with Windows 7 and the services opportunity is definitely there. Take for example, deployment, apps compatibility, testing those apps, getting apps to work together with others, a new option for virtualization with HyperV and maintaining the machines. That’s at a lot of services that can generate revenue for a channel partner that quite frankly was not there before with Vista. There’s also some potential for managed service providers with software distribution and patch management.
Ballmer may be the consummate salesman, but the best kind of salesman has a product that sells itself and finally Microsoft may have something like that in Windows 7.