Feeds

Ballmer bets on R&D amidst Meltdown

Talks Windows server lite and Yahoo! wooing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The next step in data security

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). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.