Speech Transcript – Jon DeVaan, Windows Briefing

Remarks by Jon DeVaan

Vice President, Desktop Applications Division Microsoft Corporation

Wednesday, July 23, 1997

Seattle, WA

Remarks by Jon DeVaan

Vice President, Desktop Applications Division Microsoft Corporation

Wednesday, July 23, 1997

Seattle, WA

MR. DeVaan: Good afternoon.It’s my pleasure to get the opportunity to talk to you today about how we’ve been reinventing Office in every version, and how we plan to reinvent Office going forward into the future.I’ll talk to you a little bit today as well about total cost of ownership, and show you some of the things that we’re going to do to dramatically lower the cost of owning Office. I’ll also talk to you about the way we’re going to extend Office, take advantage of the ways that people are doing work are changing, and show you how we’ll develop a broad set of applications for the desktop that encompass information finding, information management, document creation, publishing, and collaborating.

It’s popular to think today that the emergence of the Internet and ubiquitous connectivity have kind of passed Office by in the category of desktop productivity software.I disagree.Office is just beginning, and today I’ll show you a glimpse of how we’re going to extend Office using our core values of intelligence and integration to create a broad set of software tools that will allow people to get their new kind of work done more simply and faster than ever before.

The concept of reinvention is not new for Office.We’ve been continuously reinventing in every version.For example, we adopted an OLE technology and OLE architectures for application integration.We integrated IntelliSense technologies –architectures that make applications fundamentally easier to use.We’ve kept pace with the platforms, updating our core capabilities and modern algorithms optimized for 32-bit processors.We’ve integrated architectures to support the Internet.

In every version of Office, we’ve looked carefully at all the pieces of our architecture to find pieces which are obsolete, hard to support, or just can’t support the capabilities that we want to provide for end users, and we replace them.Moving forward, we will continue to do this reinvention and rearchitecting of Office to meet our core goals of reducing the cost of owning Office and bringing intelligence and integration to the task of collaboration.

Total cost of ownership is a key concern for our users today, and a focus at Microsoft.Frankly, we haven’t done as good a job as we should have with keeping our products simple.The resulting complexity has caused an end-to-end lifecycle cost of owning Office to be too high.We’re going to fix that.In fact, today, we’re announcing our commitment that future versions of Office will cut the cost of owning Office in half.We’re very committed to this goal, and we’ve made it the number one priority of the development team for the next version.

One of the ways that we’ll accomplish this goal is to be the premier example of how a Windows application supports the Windows Zero Administration Initiative.In fact, Office 97 supports two of the elements of the Windows Zero Administration Initiative today.Administrators can choose Windows Terminals or Net PC and decide to centrally administer Office or have a locked-down client install.

Office will develop other technologies like components on-demand, a technology that will allow us to install just a few files on the user’s machine at set-up time, and then only as the user chooses functions in the product, download the code for those functions incrementally at a time.

We’ll develop other technologies like self- repairing applications.So if something goes wrong on the user’s PC, something goes bad in the registry or a file gets corrupted, Office will be smart enough to repair itself, and the user will never notice.We’ll develop technology that will notify the user automatically when an update has been posted to the Web, so a user can always be sure that their application is up to date and has all the latest fixes.

I’d like to invite Tom Williams out now, and we’ll show you some examples of how we’re going to lower the cost of ownership of Office.

Hi, Tom.


MR. DEVAAN:So, first, let’s look at automatic updates.

MR. WILLIAMS:What Jon was saying is that we’re going to have the ability in a future version of Office to automatically update software using the worldwide Web.The user is going to subscribe to an IE 4.0 channel, and that channel will actually notify the user when the update is available.So, you can see here when I started Word, IE 4.0 actually told Word that an update was available on the Web, and Word is now asking me if I want to go up and take a look at it.So, I’ll click yes.And the browser is going to automatically launch and take me to that Web page where the update is available.

If I want to install it on my machine, I simply click this hyperlink, and I just have to answer a couple of questions in this wizard, and very simply, without me really doing anything as a user, it’s going to download and install that update from the Web directly to my machine.It was even smart enough to restart itself when the entire process is over and give me a message confirming that the update was successful.

MR. DEVAAN:That’s really great.Next, let’s look at our self-repairing capability.You obviously have a machine there with Word.I bet you’re running low on disk space.Why don’t we get rid of a few of those DLL files, we don’t need those.

MR. WILLIAMS:Yeah.I mean, these pesky DLLs, you know, I want to have room to install all those cool games that Steve and Keith were demoing.So let’s just delete this DLL, I’m sure I don’t need it anyway, and go in and empty the recycling bin.

Now, we all know what happens next.When the user boots up, they get some incredibly cryptic message about Word not working, and they really have no alternative but to reinstall the entire application.But with self- repairing applications, notice, I just boot up Word and it works normally.What’s actually happened is, Word is smart enough to go back out to the CD and copy the file that it needs, and reinstall it.And, again, it all happens completely transparently.As a user, I didn’t have to get involved at all.

MR. DEVAAN:That’s great.Thanks, Tom.

The self-repairing technology will replace missing files, update damaged files including the system registry.Users will just have their installation repair itself without needing any intervention at all.

Paul mentioned the PC cycle of innovation where we innovate, integrate, and improve technology over time.This model is exactly Office’s heritage.We started with stand-alone applications that were innovative and allowed people to create documents that were richer and better looking than ever before.Then we added intelligence to make it very, very simple for people to create those documents.Then we added integration, where we enabled users to create complex compound documents using multiple application data types, and made it so seamless that often users didn’t even know they were running multiple applications.

Office became the standard for desktop productivity because we did the best job of applying intelligence and integration to make people’s jobs easier.We created software that allowed people to focus on their work, not on their tools.That, in turn, allowed them to do a better job on their work, to create output that they were proud to put their name on.We in the Office group have been very proud to always make Office the place where users do their best work.

How will our goals of intelligence and integration work moving forward?I think, first, it’s very important to consider how the term productivity is changing.In the not distant past, productivity meant producing paper documents.An individual would create a document using a few sources of information, and publish a document that typically had a relatively finite life span.We see collaboration broadening the definition of productivity.For example, the number of information sources has increased.People spend more time finding and sifting and managing information than they used to.The ways that we publish information have grown.Technologies like email, Web sites and other technologies are available now, and often you need to republish information, the same information, in multiple formats.

The way we’re organizing to do work is changing.Companies have work groups and SWAT teams.And, by definition, they work in a very close collaborative manner.Authoring documents is changing.Typically, a document has more than one author, because a document is the result of an intensely collaborative process.

We see that the way people are working is changing, and while we believe that document creation will be at the core of the user experience, we need to expand Office to take into account these new tasks of information gathering and collaboration.

Office will still be the place where users do their best work.And we’ll apply our core values of intelligence and integration to create a broad set of tools that span the spectrum from finding information, managing information, creating information and documents, publishing and collaboration, and we’ll make that simpler and easier and more seamless than ever before.

Those are lofty goals.Let’s drill down for a minute, and talk about different ways that we’ll use intelligence to make software easier.We’ve done a lot of work in software, you know; we’ve added a lot of commands and made some things simpler, and people are a lot more productive than ever before.But we still have software where really the user has to adapt to the software instead of the software adapting to the user.

Take email as an example.In Outlook today, you can prioritize your messages by who sent it to you.But shouldn’t your mail software be smarter than that.You come in some days, and you have a huge backlog of messages.What if one of those messages is from your boss’ boss, and it has the words in it like “urgent, due by noon today.”You know, shouldn’t the software be smart enough to percolate that message to the top, or maybe put an alert up on the screen, or maybe even send you a message on your pager?Those are examples of how intelligence and understanding meaning can make software easier and more useful.