Feeds

Ballmer bets on R&D amidst Meltdown

Talks Windows server lite and Yahoo! wooing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer wants to spend research and development dollars like it was the 1930s-era Great Depression.

The volume control-impaired CEO told investors at its annual mid-year chat that Microsoft intends to stuff the company's R&D larders in anticipation for when economic conditions aren't quite so dire. But he warned the downturn will likely persist for the next several years.

Ballmer said he ordered his corporate strategy lackeys to research how other big companies weathered past US recessions and discovered a new corporate kinship in the former electronics maker, RCA.

"RCA — God rest them in peace — RCA became our role model," bellowed Ballmer. "They actually kept investing in R&D through the Depression period, and post-Depression they dominated TV technology because they were really the only guys who had invested."

Ballmer yelled that he doesn't consider today's crap economy a "recession in which you can recover," but rather an "economic reset" where lots of money leaks out and the market starts again at a lower level.

"You don't beat it," Ballmer hollered to investors. "You manage in this environment. You don't think about it as shorter term, you think about it as a rest that may take several years to fully reset. But we need to then ask the questions, 'What do we invest in? What's important? What's going to happen?'"

The tea leaves apparently tell Ballmer to invest more in improving Microsoft's online search and advertising market share.

"Some people say to me, why don't you just give up," shouted Ballmer about the company's status as a non-entity in the search business despite years of significant investment. "This is a huge opportunity. You give up, you can't et back in the game."

Ballmer added he hopes to strike up a new "reasonable conversation" with Yahoo!'s new CEO Carol Bartz to figure out how to combine forces to compete with Google.

The Microsoft chief also aims to pump more money into its forthcoming WIndows 7 operating system as well as Office 14. Ballmer, however, shrieked confirmation that Microsoft's upcoming Office package won't arrive this year without offering further explanation.

Microsoft's Windows 7 strategy will also play on the recent popularity of cheap, low-cost computing. Netbooks may bring all the boys to the yard nowadays, but most of the machines run Windows XP because Vista demands more system resources than can be spared. Ballmer whooped that he intends for a Windows 7 starter edition to be a high-margin substitute to XP if they can figure out how to make netbook users make the switch.

"We're going to have a lot more opportunities in order to think through how we get the customers to want to trade up from a lower-priced offering to a higher-priced offering, and we're certainly experimenting with that," he yelled.

Microsoft also intends to offer a low-cost, bare-bones version of Windows server.

"We don't exactly have a netbook phenomenon, but if somebody can buy a $500 server, they're a little loathed to spend $500 for the server operating system that goes with it," he trumpeted.

The audio of Ballmer's mid-year address can be found here. A transcript of the occasion is also offered at yonder link (as a .DOC file). ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.