Microsoft plans new enterprise offerings

Microsoft plans to increase its investment in offering enterprise-class products with new, high-end versions of Windows and Office.

Microsoft plans to increase its investment in enterprise-class products with new high-end -- and higher-priced -- versions of Windows and Office that will be released in the next several years, the company's chief executive officer (CEO) said Thursday.

Speaking at Microsoft's annual Financial Analyst Meeting in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft will offer an enterprise version of the forthcoming version of Windows, Windows Vista and a new version of its productivity suite, Office Premium, aimed at better serving enterprise markets.

Microsoft also is planning an Office Server product with a new premium client access license that will include system management, security and e-mail offerings for high-end customers, Ballmer said.

These additions to Microsoft's portfolio will contribute to growth in revenue for Microsoft's "anchor products" -- offerings such as Windows, Office and Exchange, he said. Despite the fact that some analysts believe that the market for these products and Microsoft's potential to innovate around them is stagnant, Ballmer said Thursday that is not the case.

"Most of you I don't think are thinking at all about the kinds of growth we can get out of this expansion of our anchor businesses," he said. "I believe in the future of Microsoft from an innovation perspective and from a growth perspective. I believe in that more than you do."

Ballmer also said Microsoft is planning server and tools offerings for the high-end technical computing market, which he acknowledged is "mostly a Linux world today." In fact, the company in May hired Tony Hey as corporate vice president for technical computing to lead this strategy, he said.

"We barely play in high-performance clusters, the big technical computing [environments] you find in automotive, oil and gas and government" he said.

"We have a new vice president of technical computing to help drive and shape [this opportunity]."

Other areas where Microsoft expects to derive revenue growth over the next several years are in some of the most recent additions to its portfolio, such as search, entertainment and mobile offerings, Ballmer said.

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