Feeds

Gates pumps up Office, slaps down Yahoo!

Man your APIs

Top three mobile application threats

Office System Developer Conference A "brilliant, powerful - and let's face it, sexy and good looking - leader of men and women who just doesn't believe in paying more than seven dollars for a haircut".

That's the way Brian Williams, respected news anchorman for America's NBC, described Bill Gates in a video spoof on the Microsoft chairman's pending semi-retirement.

The star-studded video was shown during Gates's opening keynote at Microsoft's first Office System Developer Conference, in San Jose, California. The good news? These endless portrayals of Gates as a cuddly, self-effacing geek are likely to be fewer and further between as his role shifts from full- to part-time Microsoft employee.

Gates, though, didn't seem like an executive ready to retire as he took the stage to promote Microsoft's ubiquitous Office suite - and sole star performer of the Windows Vista desktop - as a software development platform, and also gave some insight into the thinking behind Microsoft's $45bn bid for Yahoo!.

"Making Office into a platform is very important to us," Gates said. "Our investment in the Office platform is greater today than it's ever been."

At the heart of Microsoft's strategy to promote the Office suite as a software development platform is the concept of the Office Business Application (OBA). OBAs combine the productivity suite with enterprise business processes and data.

Gates made several announcements, including the winter 2008 release (version 2) of the Office Live Small Business service. Gates claimed more than 600,000 subscribers to the service since it debuted last year. The company is offering a basic version for free with users paying for additional services.

Microsoft also announced an OBA Composition Toolkit, a reference application that uses Office and SharePoint Server 2007 to "enable the creation of enterprise mashups using pre-built components", and a new OBA Sample Application Kit for PeopleSoft and SAP. The OBA Sample kit provides tools for the rapid development of enterprise-grade business software that is connected to Office. Gates also touted Visual Studio Extensions for Windows SharePoint Server 1.1.

Ok, ok. Office is nice and everything, but why buy Yahoo!, whose corporate HQ is just down the road? As Gates spoke, Yahoo!'s management rejected Microsoft's hostile offer, a move that's apparently designed to strap the underperforming Yahoo! engine to the becalmed MSN barge and to somehow overtake the Google supertanker.

Gates responded during a rare question and answer session. Opening with a backhanded complement, Gates claimed only the two companies combined could convert Yahoo's engineering prowess into online ads revenue.

"Yahoo has done great work. I particularly point to the engineering work they've done... they did good work," he said (note the repeated emphasis on past tense). "But in an ad model, you need scale. And it's a tricky question of whether only one company has that scale."

Note to Bill: Google is just a single company, so therefore it must be a question of "who" rather than "what" type of single company you are.

Obviously, Gates was recalling Microsoft's solo $5bn plus spend so-far on R&D and entertainment content along with ads-related acquisitions since 2006, that's barely moved Microsoft's online needle against Google.

"There is a strategy where you drive toward being a media company and you take functions and you give up the engineering to someone else. We don't believe in that. The core is going to be engineering, and you've got to get it into a level of scale so that you can go and challenge to become the number one in that space." ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.