Feeds

Ballmer reacquaints Microsoft with its PC past

Windows without risk

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Comment Steve Ballmer's inaugural Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opener - taking over from Bill Gates - was important for its emphasis and what was missing.

Ballmer opened with the proposition that the PC revolution has been good, but should have been better. There remain billions of people out there still untouched by either the PC or Windows.

With the market for computing, web surfing, and entertainment going beyond Microsoft's core market of the PC and wrapping in ever newer devices - TVs, media devices, phones and netbooks - Ballmer's keynote was notable for saying Microsoft had to go beyond "just" the PC.

It's a testament to the power and the pain of the company's predicament that it's taken around 30 years for one billion PCs to be sold worldwide, but considerably less time for the mobile market to hit four billion units.

Unsurprisingly, Ballmer believes Windows will unite the plethora of new computing devices. "Windows will remain at the center of people's technological solar system," he said.

In the amphitheater of the consumer and electronics gods, though, Ballmer delivered a squarely PC-centric message that failed to address the needs of the new. There were few new facts or glitzy demos typically used by companies in the consumer market to convince potential partners they have a roadmap or products to believe in. What Ballmer did was offer a better version of Windows for the PC - better than Windows Vista, at least.

Take mobile phones.

Ballmer acknowledged growth in the smart-phone market and the importance of the mobile phone. Sounding like Sun's chief executive, he noted the phone is the first experience many people have in developing economies of computing or getting online.

We were primed for a major Windows on mobile announcement, statement of direction, and - importantly for this kind of crowd - demos with friendly partners running Windows on mobile.

Or, at least, something that backed up the "Windows without walls" advertising we've seen on posters, sides of buses, and on TV.

Surprisingly, though, mobile got a few brief moments during Ballmer's hour plus talk.

There was no Zune phone, as many had unrealistically hoped. For all Ballmer's talk of Windows 7, there was no discussion of interoperability or design cross overs between Windows mobile and desktops, laptops, or netbooks that presumably will run Windows 7.

Instead, Ballmer offered stats to prove Windows-on-mobile is a viable market and partners can make a safe bet building phones and applications that use Windows mobile.

Search this

There was the Verizon mobile search deal. Sure it's big and impressive given Verizon's size. It's America's largest wireless provider. On paper, it guarantees a potential market for Microsoft's search - if not actual end users. Microsoft can now claim its mobile search has 63 million wireless subscribers.

Whether they are actual users will be open to question. Microsoft is not known for search - that's Google - and in an era of consumer choice, this deal comes from the PC-and-telco-industry archives of partners tying users into products and services they feel the customers ought to be using.

Further, and without having read the deal's fine print - the companies are not releasing details - there's every chance Verizon can also deal with Google, while Verizon users can configure their phones to not use Microsoft.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.