NEW YORK, June 25, 2002 — Understanding and meeting the computing needs of information workers represents the best opportunity for the computer industry to boost both individual and corporate productivity and profits, according to Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services at Microsoft Corp. Raikes outlined the contributions Microsoft will make in the next year to help information workers be more productive in a keynote speech at this year’s TECHXNY show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Those contributions include a new version of Office, which is scheduled to be available around the middle of next year; the Tablet PC, which will launch Nov. 7; and the new Microsoft® Windows®
Powered Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition, which VoiceStream/T-Mobile is scheduled to launch in the United States later this summer.
“Information workers broaden the definition of what we think of today as the knowledge worker,” Raikes said. “Information workers use technology, but they are from a broader spectrum of work. They can be nurses or insurance agents. They do not always sit in front of a computer eight hours a day, but they are often mobile, use technology to manage information and make decisions, and they need more flexible and business-appropriate computing solutions. Our challenge as an industry is to develop software and hardware products that better understand information workers’ needs, map more effectively to their day-to-day work, and measurably increase their productivity.”
Raikes added that the current business climate of reduced IT spending reflects a broader issue. “CEOs and IT management know that increasing the productivity of their employees benefits their operations and their bottom line. They just want to know that the return on their technology will be tangible investments in the form of greater productivity. That’s our challenge as an industry and my personal focus.”
Raikes outlined the future innovation in Microsoft Office as being aimed squarely at the broader needs of information workers. These needs will be addressed through improvements in communication and collaboration as well as through investments in XML. Raikes also indicated that the next version of Microsoft Office, currently called Office 11, would be made available during the middle of next year, and he gave a first look at the next version of the Outlook®
messaging and collaboration client, which will help information workers improve the way they read, search and manage their personal information. “If you think about how information workers work collaboratively to get their work done, we believe that the next version of Office will be well-positioned to directly address those collaborative needs,” Raikes said.
Tablet PC Products
During his presentation, Raikes demonstrated several products, which he described as first steps toward a richer set of information worker solutions. These included new prototype Tablet PC designs from Fujitsu PC Corp., Motion Computing and Toshiba, as well as application software for the Tablet PC from software developers Corel Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and FranklinCovey/Agilix. He also announced SAP AG as the latest major software developer to support the Tablet PC initiative. SAP is evaluating solutions for SAP mobile users to take advantage of the Tablet PC’s rich digital ink technology.
Raikes also demonstrated Microsoft Reader 2.5, the latest version of the company’s on-screen reading application, which brings the benefits of immersive and active reading to the Tablet PC through its large display and high-resolution display capabilities.
Prototype Tablet PCs with the beta version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional Tablet PC Edition will be deployed in several customer locations within 30 days, Raikes added.
“The Tablet PC represents a major advancement in how PCs can increase productivity in the workplace,” Raikes said. “When they ship on Nov. 7, Tablet PCs will enable information workers to use their computers in new ways, in new places and more frequently than they ever have.”
Mobility Is Key
Raikes also demonstrated the Windows Powered Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition, the newest addition to Microsoft’s Pocket PC handheld software platform, which combines the best of the PDA with integrated wireless voice and data capabilities. Raikes noted that this new productivity tool will be brought to market in the United States by VoiceStream/T-Mobile later this summer. “At the extreme edge of mobility, information workers still want to have the most powerful products and richest connectivity to their key corporate data, and the Pocket PC Phone Edition provides just that,” he said.
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