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Ballmer pushes Vista and Office vision to businesses

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Steve Ballmer has kicked-off a $500m marketing push designed to convince businesses they really need to buy the planned Windows Vista and Office 2007.

Speaking in New York on Thursday, Ballmer unveiled Microsoft's new "vision" - "people-ready" business - a vision that apparently boils down to using Windows Vista and Office 2007, due later this year, with new email and collaboration applications to help improve companies' team-based productivity.

Any of this sounding familiar? See the launch of Office 2000, XP, 2003...

The difference this time though is IBM who, according to Ballmer, is offering a services-based approach to collaboration compared to Microsoft's approach of providing software.

"We're staking out a position quite different than our leading competitor. That's IBM," Ballmer told press. "We are talking about making the people in the business more productive. IBM increasingly is a services company. At the end of the day, we're a software company."

Ballmer wrapped his "people-ready" presentation with a very serious pitch from fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger on how technology is an "enabler" and, surprise, empowers people with the resources they need to position the company for success.

Microsoft is promoting Windows Vista and Office 2007 to businesses having, so-far, largely failed in this respect. Chief software architect Bill Gates positioned Windows Vista as software for consumers at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Advances in Office 2007, meanwhile, continue Microsoft's ongoing mission to integrate Office with its server products, while making many of the suite's existing capabilities easier for users to actually find. ®

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