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Radio Reg Microsoft executives like to affix "super" to their words. In the past, we've had "super" important, "super" cool, and "super" nicely.

The origin of this practice, we understand, is Bill Gates, who used it in a genuinely geeky way while others inside Microsoft tried to emulate him.

Anyway, here's another "super" for you. It's a "super" Microsoft hasn't spoken as such, but it might has well be: the "super" discount.

Microsoft's rolling back the prices - from slashing the price for early sign-ups on the forthcoming Windows 7 for businesses and consumers to giving away online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote and offering its Azure cloud for free until November after which the price of a Windows cloud from Microsoft will undercut Amazon - just.

What's behind these super discounts?

Is it because Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner is ex-Wal-Mart, a faceless multinational famed for aggressively low prices to win market share? But why now, when Turner's been with Microsoft since 2005?

Reg software editor Gavin Clarke and All-About-Microsoft blogger Mary-Jo Foley tackle how Microsoft used its Worldwide Partner Conference to batter and cajole partners into embracing a new client operating system, new online services, and new search engine - and how discounted pricing is being used as big incentive.

Cut it any way you want, but money talks and a bargain goes a long way in a recessionary economy.

And, in the spirit of discounts, MicroBite gives you something extra this episode: a free sampler of Steve Ballmer. Listen to Microsoft's chief executive dispense some tough love to partners afraid the Redmond machine's about to crush them in the spirit of competition.

You get the rest of Ballmer if you're man enough to work for his company.

Among top choicest cuts, a previously full-throttle Ballmer dropping his voice to almost a whisper saying: "We don't go home."

As ever, you can listen using our player below, get the MP3 here or Ogg Vorbis here. ®

MicroBite 11

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