Remarks by Steve Ballmer
InfoWorld CTO Summit
June 21, 2001
STEVE BALLMER: It is a pleasure to have a chance to be here with you today and to share a little bit about what we see happening in the industry and a little about changes at Microsoft.
I think Bobs comment is right, weve been in some senses in the last couple of years as a company in a phase of transition, and you could take that from a variety of different angles. You know, our company for almost 23 years talked about putting a computer on every desk and in every home, and while that mission is incomplete, today we talk about empowering people with software and information any time, any place and on any device, because we see a broader mission in the world of devices and servers and data centers and PCs, a broader mission than we did even when the company was started 26 years ago. So weve had a change in vision.
We have been in the process of evolving our management team and management approach. Certainly for a lot of years I would say we could run almost anything directly through Bill as sort of a central coordinating point, and weve evolved and built a broader, more team-oriented and deeper management team. Were going through a transition in technology, which Ill talk about, from the world of the PC to the graphical user interface to the Internet and now to the XML revolution, which I think will actually be as big or bigger as any of the revolutions which have preceded it. And were going through a revolution as a company from a young upstart to a company that still feels like its in an incredibly fast paced industry, incredibly competitive industry, but an industry in which our role is a little bit different; its got to evolve to be a little bit more mature role and a role in which we really recognize and put extra energy in ensuring that we have a broad range of partners whose business really prospers and succeeds as we succeed.
Weve also evolved in terms of being a multi-business company. In some senses, I guess I could say that really for most customers that we interact with, were known for what you might call one business or two businesses, but its the desktop software business — Windows and Office, and thats the heart and soul of the relationship that we have with most of our enterprise customers. We think both of those businesses are still rife with opportunities to change the world.
The Windows PC form factor will not stay the same over the next several years. We need to do more to make it a different kind of device. As I look out in the audience today, I see mostly pencil and paper. Were not all carrying our Tablet PCs. These slides arent all beamed to us electronically. Were not recognized over the 802.11 network in this hotel. Theres no virtual community in which you can identify your friends or other people in this room. You cant just sit there and write on your tablets with your pointing device or take notes and ink something up. Thats not todays world, and were going to need to see evolution in the PC to make those kinds of things much more possible.
In terms of knowledge worker productivity, if we think of Office as a spreadsheet and word processor, somebody could ask how many more turns of the crank do we need? We think of Office as needing to be the definitive solution for knowledge workers. That means we need to help people not only when theyre trying to create documents, but analyze information, communicate and communicate with others in real time, collaborate with others on projects, take notes, do research and the range of new capabilities which need to be added into the Office product.
For the last 12 years of so weve worked diligently on becoming an enterprise company, and Im going to have a chance to talk about some of the new work going on in that effort.
Weve worked on mobile devices and other non-TV devices, whether thats our Pocket PC device, which we worked on in conjunction with Compaq and Hewlett Packard and Casio, the new cell phone design, which well bring to market with a wide variety of partners later on this year and next year, or I guess I should even have included the TV-attached devices, the Xbox, the interactive TV set-top boxes, so people can have access to the same information anytime, any place and on any device.
We bought Great Plains software earlier this year, and it joins our bCentral Web site to try to be part of providing a complete end-to-end solution for smaller and medium-sized businesses.
Some people in this room will say,
“Im from an enterprise; why do I care about that?”
Well, I think the opportunity for us to participate together at not only automating smaller businesses, but hooking those up to larger businesses in the supply chain is a mutual opportunity for us and our enterprise customers.
And last through our consumer software, and particularly through MSN, were trying to participate in the world of consumer communications and productivity. And with MSN, customers now are numbering about 230 million a month. We have over 110 million users now of Hotmail, over 36 million instant messaging customers. We have really moved forward down this path.
And I think its important for people to understand our business in this broader context of multi-business, multi-dimensional.
If I take a look and start with a discussion of: what is it that were hearing from enterprise customers about whats important to them, were really hearing a little different theme today than we did five or six years ago? People still talk about costs, manageability, reliability and scale, but increasingly what were hearing people say is what theyre looking for their IT systems to do is give them greater agility, an ability to move quickly, to move smart, to move fast, to change direction, to understand what customers want, what trading partners need, and to move, move, move, move, move. Its speed. Its flexibility. Its agility.
And thats not saying that the old abilities — reliability, manageability — are gone, but I think particularly as more and more businesspeople have become familiar with the PC, with the Internet, we hear more and more people saying,
“I want this stuff to be able to serve things I envision. How do we put more and better information in the hands of our employees so they make smarter decisions? How do we reengineer our supply chain with our customers?”
And when you think about a supply chain, youve got to think broadly. Its not just about do I know how much inventory this supplier has, but if youre Ford or General Motors, theres probably some small tool and die job on Eight Mile Road in Detroit thats actually making the tool that makes the door that rattles around on the car that Dan bought. And if you dont want that door to rattle around, you really want design information flowing up and down the supply chain as well. So theres a lot of work in terms of how you want to get this connection with trading partners.
Customer centricity and customer focus: I think the dot-com bubble will be remembered for many things. It may not though be remembered for one of the things that I think was most important. The dot-com bubble really got all businesses to think about using the Internet as a much more fundamental part of their connection with their customers. And I think thats a very important contribution, and people still want to push. Theres no decline that we see in terms of the numbers of project in larger companies, where people want to use IT to get better agility with their customers.
At the same time, we actually think that software and the nature of what people will expect and think about as leading edge software is changing. Its changing in a few important ways. Integration: People want to see an integrated view of their information, whether its corporate information or consumer information, across devices, across applications, across businesses. The Holy Grail of most enterprise IT people is how do I make this system talk to that system. The Holy Grail of most dot-com people is how do I make my system talk to my customers system. And in some senses, this opportunity for integration we think is a huge one.
Associated with that is the notion of federation. If I want my system to talk to your system or my applications to talk to your applications, we need to somehow be able to federate our infrastructure. If Im [email protected] and Dan Bricklin is [email protected], then we need to have a way securely sometimes to share information, and its not always going to be e-mail. We may want to collaborate on something in a far richer way. How does the security infrastructure at Trellix and Microsoft, how would we federate those to other technologies that make that simple?
The definition of software over the next five or ten years will change. Today we still think about handing somebody a CD and saying,
“Bye-bye, see you in a few years when Ive got an upgrade.”
The nature of all software in the future is to be a service that updates itself, backs itself up, that provides important new functionality over time. People want smarter and varied clients; this notion of the dumb client I think has now been almost thoroughly discredited. In every device category, devices are getting smarter. The PC, the cell phone, the TV, the videogame box, you name it: More power, more processor, more disk, more memory; all improving with Moores Law, but using more intelligence in all of those devices.
Reading: Most reading today is still done off paper. Most note taking is done on paper. The computer hasnt become a pure and easy replacement for the physical world. Software needs to enable that.
Digital media, real time communication and collaboration: We see so much explosion in terms of new opportunities and new things that software needs to do.
I think an anchor tenet of these changes will be this revolution I described earlier of XML. And I describe it as a revolution every bit as big as the PC, as graphical user interface or as the Internet. And anybody who doesnt think there will be another big revolution right around the corner now in our industry, I think just hasnt studied enough about our industry.
You know, our job certainly as a company and a provider of platforms is to make sure were anticipating these next changes. And some people will say,
“But XML is so simple; theres really nothing to it.”
And thats in some senses its beauty. I can be the lingua franca of the Internet, the basis for the kind of integration, machine-to-machine, application-to-application, device-to-device, program-to-program that people want.
The HTML world has been fairly primitive. The XML world is really not just about delivering a picture of data; its about delivering data that can be manipulated and presented, acted upon, accepted by another program, et cetera. And so we think this XML concept and the integration that it permits and allows is big, big, big, big, big, big, big and its kind of the new underlying approach that we expect in everything.
Now, some people say, you know,
“Okay, XML sounds great. Its an open standard, right, Steve?”
Yeah, XML is an open standard and were very active and have been now for five years really there at the founding of XML with the W3C in the standards body not only on the message format but all of the underlying machinery that is necessary to send an XML message, to have that XML message invoke a program, to take work on the other side and in some senses it was like the godsend from above for us to be able to embrace XML, because one of the biggest things that we have been deficient in answer to our corporate customers is how are you going to get your systems to interoperate with those other guys systems. XML as the lingua franca for the Internet is perfect for us. When people say,
“Are you really serious that you want XML to be an open standard,”
and the answer to that is absolutely yes.
What is .NET then? .NET is our platform to enable people in our systems to take advantage of the XML revolution. Its software, software that we have decided rather than to make a separate product, to integrate with Windows, with Office, in the cloud, to build applications on top of like MSN, to integrate into our server product line.
Sometimes people say,
“But show me the bits that are .NET. Give me the CD.”
And I see folks in all these places and they say,
“Well, tell me what is it if youre not handing me the CD.”
And Ill give you kind of maybe a stupid answer to that question, but its truthful, 100 percent truthful. What is .NET? .NET is everything we need to do across our entire company to let people take advantage of the XML revolution, whether weve thought it through and anticipated it or not. And if you say its the same thing it was 12 months ago — mostly, but a lot of things have been added as we get out, we work with the technologies, we talk to customers, et cetera.
Windows XP is an important product. Weve talked about it in a number of ways and I think its got a number of great innovations. And I want to relate it to .NET for you, but maybe Ill also spend just a second talking about it. I think theres something of a pent up demand for this new version of Windows. We have not had a major exciting end-user release of Windows in some senses since Windows 95 — a new user interface, new capabilities targeted at the end user, new programming capabilities that software vendors can take and manage. And this version of Windows, plus the additional reliability and stability it brings with the Windows NT code base to the home market, I think should be a big, big deal.
Weve put a lot of work in on performance, security, mobility, digital media, home networking, 802.11 networking. I can literally walk with this laptop anywhere around Microsoft and I can walk to SeaTac Airport and it automatically reconnects me to the 802.11 network at SeaTac, because weve built deeply into the plumbing support for roaming and wireless networking.
Weve built in better support for remote users. I go through the corporate space, but Im not the help desk for Microsoft. Im the help desk for Marilyn Schneider, my mother-in-law. And she calls about once a week with something she cant figure out on her PC. And Im always sitting there saying,
“Marilyn, Marilyn, have you tried this menu?” “Whats a menu?” “Do you remember we talked about that last week, Marilyn?”
(Laughter.) She will be a mission critical upgrade to Windows XP — (laughter) — and I will simply take control when she permits me of her machine and I will take care of any problem that Marilyn has. In fact, I might even teach my wife, the deputy assistant help desk manager, to help her own mother at that stage.
You can think of the same technology being brought into corporate environments or the kind of work that Centerbeam, one of our partners here in the audience, and that kind of technology could really be quite compelling.
But Windows XP also has the first .NET support at the client. Weve integrated it with a set of services that we call .NET building blocks that weve codenamed
that start the process of allowing the kind of integration that weve talked about. Weve built in connections to the services in the cloud that provide authentication services, notification services. Weve built in a set of facilities to start enabling real time applications, peer-to-peer applications, which I think are very important. Weve seen a number of companies like American Express — Ray Ozzie from Groove I know was here with you yesterday — McAfee, eBay and others, taking advantage of some of these new capabilities that weve started to build in to support the .NET platform inside Windows XP.
Were going to have one of our good partners come up and join you to show you some of the work that theyre doing around .NET and the .NET services, which are included in Windows XP. To do that from Alibre will be Paul Grayson, the CEO and Greg Milliken, the VP of marketing. Please help me welcome them.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Hello, Steve. How are you doing?
STEVE BALLMER: Good, thanks.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Thank you. Well, Greg and I are going to do a quick demonstration of Alibre Design. Alibre Design is a real time interactive design service for global manufacturers and their supply chain partners.
Lets wait for it to come up. There we go.
STEVE BALLMER: The machine was deeply asleep. They were sitting here worried about how long it would take to bring this machine back up. Instant on will be a feature of the Windows XP release of Windows. (Laughter.)
J. PAUL GRAYSON: All right, thank you.
STEVE BALLMER: I gave them enough time to get it up. Now its back to you.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: All right. Well, Alibre Design illustrates several key concepts of the next generation of software. Its built on a smart client. Its a software service thats delivered over the Internet. It features integrated communication. And it harnesses the Passport authentication and notification building block services also known as
Now, just let me give you a little bit of introduction to what our set up is here. Greg and I are going to be simulating a global manufacturer and a supplier working together, even though were standing beside each other, so use your imagination. Greg and I are running on our laptops here, running Windows XP, each connection to the Internet over a DSL line. Weve already logged in. Were already logged into instant messenger so you can see that both of us are online. So well both be online and youll see that the screen behind us that weve got, the laptop screens are picture-in-picture. So Gregs screen is up at the top right hand corner and my screen basically dominates the rest of the screen area.
So Greg is currently in Alibre Design and Im going to go to our Web page our home page. And what I want to emphasize is that the current Alibre experience runs inside of Internet Explorer, so weve seamlessly integrated Web pages, application services using ActiveX control and support services, so access to knowledge base, access to real time support with our support engineers back at Alibre.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Okay, what you can see here is Ive actually been working on assembly and I play a role here as a supplier who has been manufacturing a component for Paul as an engineering OEM. And so what Im going to do is Im actually going to check in a design here, and which actually generates a notification.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: And so that will actually go ahead and launch Alibre Design for me, and youll notice that I get the message that Passport has accepted my logon. And then Ill go directly into Alibre Design.
STEVE BALLMER: So if you were that little tool and die maker I talked about on Eight Mile Road in Detroit, helping Paul design automobiles, literally you can make a change to design stuff that youve got going, and hes automatically notified of that change.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Exactly.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Correct. Okay, so Im going to switch over to my repository and I want to see this design that Greg has checked in for me. But I notice that I dont currently have access to his repository, so Im going to give Greg a call on instant messenger.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: And I get a notification, and just click on that note.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: And now you can see that were using the video conferencing.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Hey, Paul, whats up?
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Well, Im having trouble getting to that part that you published for me. I dont think I have access to your repository. Could you go ahead and give me access to that?
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Sure, let me do that. I thought for sure we had published that to you, but let me give that a try.
So when it went to sleep, it really went to sleep, so hes going to restart it. Let me just give you a little bit of background about Alibre. We were started in 1997 with the vision that the Internet was going to become the next-generation computing platform. And we knew at that time that Microsoft either had or would develop the same vision, so we really focused on vertically oriented capabilities for our customers. We kind of stayed away from some of the building block services that we knew that Microsoft would provide.
So, for example, when we went out to visit customers early on, we would often get asked about video conferencing. Theyd say,
“Hey, this is a great collaboration system you have here, but what about video conferencing? Why dont you do vide conferencing?”
And we said,
“Look, were focusing on applications. We think that can be an operating system or a network services function. And we dont have the capacity to do all those things.”
So we were really counting on Microsoft from the very beginning to help us deliver this vision.
Okay, so now you can see that Greg has published his repository for me, so Im in the repository area of our application, and this is where you manage data. This also shows off the peer-to-peer capabilities of our system. So I actually have access to four different repositories and Greg just spontaneously published his repository to me. His repository is actually on his local hard drive. Theres one here at [email protected] thats on a simple server. I have my own local server. I can simply click on Gregs repository and now I can access data that hes given me permission to access.
STEVE BALLMER: So here youre doing peer-to-peer sharing basically of design information?
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Thats correct. Were doing peer-to-peer sharing. Data can be located anywhere on the Internet and stored securely and permission can be granted on an as-needed basis, dynamically given and then taken away. So hes dynamically given me permission to access this data. Im going to double click on this part and Im going to load it into my session from his hard drive.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: And actually what Ive been working on is a flange that fits part of an aircraft nosecone. So weve actually done some very precise manufacturing and then weve assembled that into a sequence of four major components and subassemblies within that, and Ive actually checked in a component that Paul is now able to go and access from my local repository.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Okay, so now I have the model that Greg has put together for me on my screen and I can rotate it and manipulate it and zoom it and do other types of activities, but I think what Im going to do is Im going to run a quick interference check just to see if this model has been assembled correctly.
And youll notice now Ive got a dialog box that pops up that shows that there are two interferences, so Im kind of curious; I wasnt really expecting there to be any interferences. So let me invite Greg to a team modeling session so we can do some real time interactive design together and maybe he can explain to me why we have this interference.
So Im going to invite Greg to join me in a team modeling session and just add him and then publish to him.
STEVE BALLMER: And all of the machinery for sharing that supports the team modeling comes with Windows XP and then all of the application logic comes directly from our friends at Alibre.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Correct.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Correct. Integrated within the environment is you notice as Paul published that session I received a note telling me,
“Hey, theres something going on; you need to come and join and interact.”
So I could just pick Join Session. I select that and I see that that session has been published to me.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Now, I get a notification that he wants to join. And I can accept him as editor or viewer; I accept him as editor. And youll see down here now in the corner that we have two participants in the team modeling session. Im the engineer. I have a little red baton and a crown indicating Im the leader and that I have the controls, a position you are familiar with, Steve. (Laughter.)
STEVE BALLMER: I defer to you, oh King and Leader!
J. PAUL GRAYSON: And then we also have Greg in as the supplier and he has kind of a hardhat. So, Greg, it looks like youre synchronized with me now.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Exactly. So notice that Ive been working on this flange that I pointed out. Its actually colored in orange. And Im actually surprised that theres an issue. We assigned this project to our CTO so we were positive it was handled correctly.
But what Im going to do here is Im going to go in and run this interference check as well showing that Im actually able to interact with the same model that Paul has led the session, but what youre going to have to do, Paul, is pass me the baton.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Right. Let me go ahead and do that. So now Im giving him control of the editing session, so any editing changes that he wants to make, any manipulations, he can now make. Ive given him temporary permission to do that.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: And, in fact, I can go run that same interference check, and again I do see a highlighted interference at the bottom, which was expected — its a very small, like a quarter cubic inch press bit, but, in fact, there is a large interference up at the top of about ten cubic inches, which I know is something is incorrect. And weve very precisely checked and machined this component, so I believe its simply related to an assembly operation.
So what I could do is I can actually go into that subassembly and Im actually going to work within that subassembly to cut a visual section and show how we would interact in real time and I can actually show my manufacturing customer what I did in the design and show precisely the assembly.
And you can see here that what Ive done is Ive cut a visual cross-section and we can how look within that design and Im going to rotate it around and Im going to zoom in a little bit.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: And I thought Id just follow your view so I can see exactly what youre doing without any interaction.
STEVE BALLMER: Youve just set your machine to follow his.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Right. So the nature of our smart client is I have the ability to independently manipulate my view, even to work on a different design at the same time, or I can just choose to follow him and then my machine is synchronized with his actions.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Now, notice that indeed there is an interference where this flange is assembled with the nose cone. So what Im going to at this point is Im going to go in and remake this. Im actually dealing with the precise design geometry that Paul provided me to the session, and Im going to go right in and this is where were actually editing the precise model that was published and provided via this team session, and I can very easily go in and select a mating operating within Alibre and Im going to pick a phase on here thats going to allow me to actually mate these. Im going to zoom in a little bit and pick the auto mate capability within Alibre. And I select an actual vertical space on this part and then I just choose the corresponding face on the nosecone that I want to align to. The part aligns. It actually shifted it vertically. And now Im going to pick this top face. Im going to rotate and Im going to mate that now to the underside of this part. All of this is happening real time.
Now, notice that indeed Ive re-mated this and there appears to be no visual interference, but we want to check that precisely. So at this point, Paul, I think Ive got this thing fixed. Indeed, it was just an assembly operation.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Okay, well let me go ahead and take the baton back and since Im the leader I can take it back anytime that I want. And let me just run that interference check again.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: You should see only one interference.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Oh, youre right. There is just one. Now, why do we have an interference still?
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Now, that was the press kit at the bottom of the assembly where we actually insert this lower flange into the nosecone. Its a very small interference, but as you would expect, since we press fit those two pieces together.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Okay, so its just done to make it tight?
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Correct.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: All right. Well, Ill go ahead now that weve made this change and that I agree with it, since Im the leader, I can go ahead and save this and just save it back to your repository. And I get a message that pops up to confirm that I want to save it and youll notice that it is, in fact, going back to supplier on his local hard drive.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Now, at this point, if you remember, I published this repository initially, my peer local repository to Paul. I have been working on this component. He was able to leave the session. He doesnt necessarily need access to that anymore, so what I would do is actually just go in. I can go back to publishing and I can say at this point since weve performed our collaborative session, I can remove anyone Ive published that to.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: And Im gone.
So that basically completes the demonstration. Id just like to summarize by pointing out the Alibre design is an application thats currently shipping. Its being deployed by large manufacturers today, specifically to optimize outsource design and manufacturing. In fact, our largest customer today is GE Power Systems. And our case studies with our customers are demonstrating a very significant return on investment, about a hundred to one. So our thousand dollar annual subscription for our suppliers is returning over $100,000 in benefits. Our private exchange sales to a major OEM, starting at $500,000 to a million dollars, can return $50 million to $100 million or more. So its quite a compelling application that weve developed.
Thank you, Steve.
STEVE BALLMER: Great. Thanks very much.
J. PAUL GRAYSON: Appreciate it.
GREGORY C. MILLIKEN: Thanks a lot.
STEVE BALLMER: Alibre and Microsoft have a strong shared vision of the importance of rich client software, real time communication and collaboration, and in some senses thats the heart and soul, whether its for inventory information, design information, design collaboration, of what we and Alibre believe will happen.
You saw in the demonstration the way Paul and Greg made use of some of the authentication and notification services that were integrating with Windows and operating out at the cloud, and theres a range of additional services that well offer in the future.
People ask me,
“But what about Office? Are you taking Office into this .NET world?”
And we just start scratching the surface on that in the Office XP release that we just made. Office XP in the way that particularly it embraces these things we call Smart Tags, which will also be in Windows XP, start the process of XML integration of Office into this .NET world.
We have partners, people like, oh, say, the OAG. The OAG has done a set of Smart Tags for Office. Whenever youre in any Office document, youre running this little add-in, it will recognize a flight number and it will automatically link you out to all the particulars about that flight in the OAG.
Westlaw has done the same. When it sees a case citation, a legal case citation, it will say,
“What do you want to do with this? Do you want to read the citation? Do you want to read the annotation? Do you want to read the scholarly research about this legal citation?”
They give you a set of choices.
And built into Office itself, we have Smart Tags that look for addresses and business numbers, business names, peoples names, and let you take appropriate interaction, where Office is integrated with the back-end information through the XML Smart Tags.
In our enterprise product line, were moving to embrace .NET. We will release Windows XP at the end of this year and the beginning part of next year well release the server that corresponds with that that I call, for placeholders stake to come up with a real name, the Windows .NET Server. And the Windows .NET Server will not only have the kind of application service capabilities that are built into Windows Server today, but it really has built in a full XML aware application server with transactions, queuing, database access, forms all built in and all scriptable and programmable via XML and we have tools in Visual Studio to come at the same time that make it very easy to create a server-based XML service, something that can accept instructions in messages that come over XML and can issue instructions to other sites. That joins the rest of our servers that help you build applications, manage knowledge and provide infrastructure for management and security.
I think this .NET development platform, the application server, the application server is programmable in over 20 languages. Youre not restricted to a single language. You get access to C and C++, our new language, C#, Cobol and Basic and Java, whatever best fits you. And I think when people evaluate the application server with Visual Studio, people will find that they have the most rapid application development environment in the world and an environment in which it is easy to write the highest performance Web applications in the world and applications, which are very tailored to communicate via XML Web Services.
Were doing a lot of work with the development community in reaching out to the industry to partner around .NET. There is some work well do with key partners where we even share source code, which we have not done before. Well be extending our community outreach efforts, if you will, spending a lot of time studying and learning from the community support, which has been an important part of the way some new movements have proliferated. We will extend our range of community support offerings to make these platforms more and more accessible to developers.
“Well, what about the scalability and reliability? Thats not agility, thats not .NET, thats not XML. But are you going to take care of the basics?”
If you take a look at where our systems are today, you can actually get what I might call a mainframe class Windows system, the Unisys E7000, you can actually get comparable absolute performance on a single scale-up machine to what you might get on a Sun UE10000. This particular data happens to come from the SAP SB benchmark, but the folks at SAP will tell you today,
“SAP is convinced that SQL Server 2000 on Windows 2000 would now meet the needs of every RS3 customer around the world.”
And that certainly includes the biggest businesses around.
As enterprise accounts, even as CTOs, you need more from us. You need architectural skin in the game, post-sales support. People buy platforms that have a lot of applications. You need systems integration and infrastructure help as well as application development help.
Its been a traditional strength of ours to invest in the third party environment and support and ecosystem around our platforms, and Id say if weve learned one most significant thing from our experiences over the last several years, it is the need for us to redouble our evangelism and support of smaller and medium sized and large companies for adding value around our platform.
If you represent a startup or a larger company that is looking to do a startup that depends upon our technology, I encourage you to push us, push us, push us, push us. We are making dramatic new efforts to make sure we do everything we can from a technical perspective as well as a go-to-market perspective to support you.
Why look at us? Because I think in this new environment, new time, we have the most complete platform available with complete XML support at the infrastructure level and the tools level. Were the only company thats focusing in on how you take XML and build it into the user interface, into the Windows shell, into Internet Explorer, into Office. Were thinking about this platform as not only the platform for the PC but also the mobile and TV type devices. Weve got tools to help you rapidly develop these applications in a variety of different languages. We have a strong enterprise infrastructure. So do our competitors, but I think on the other attributes we have some really great stories, and heres an area where we have now caught up with the things that people have seen in other environments.
We continue to have unparalleled price performance and I think the vision and leadership were showing with this XML Web Service revolution is quite something.
There are things in the marketplace today that let you get started building these types of apps: Windows XP, as Paul showed you in the work from Alibre, Office XP, the .NET Passport notification work thats available this year, our BizTalk Server, which provides workflow for XML documents, the Windows.net Server, which well put in beta very soon, and the VisualStudio.net product, which is available today and includes a form of the application server to let you get started building these applications.
Im particularly excited about the opportunities and challenges in front of the software industry today. We certainly have gone through, as Bob said at the beginning, kind of a wild year. Maybe as an industry weve gone through a wild few years. But the opportunity to add value in new devices, in PC software, on the server, in small business, in the consumer realm, in the design and CAD environment, I think has never been greater. Our excitement about the industry in some senses is higher today perhaps than it even was three or four years ago, and I think when we all look back in 2010 and say,
“Was the first decade of the 21st Century a decade of as much innovation as the last decade of the 20th Century,”
I actually think well look back and say far more happened in the next coming ten years than we even thought in the amazing last ten years.