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Ballmer Busts Out the Bullishness

Maybe Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer is getting tired of the company's analyst day.

Despite his first time in 17 years as leadoff speaker, Ballmer's message at the annual event in Redmond, Wash., was largely the same as previous years: Not surprisingly, Ballmer is bullish about Microsoft's prospects for innovation and growth.

But in perhaps an acknowledgment that the introductory speech is the same spiel as past years, Ballmer literally digressed into a series of verbal "blah, blah, blahs" as he talked about how the company's "innovation portfolio" -- in such areas as work flow, collaboration, antispam and search -- will drive its fundamental expansion. Those "blahs" came even as Ballmer touted these as "all areas in which the company is doing its best work."

On the other hand, perhaps the "blahs" were simply a nod to what Ballmer called the breadth of areas Microsoft is trying to move into.

"Let there be no doubt Microsoft is trying to innovate and is innovating against a broader spectrum of human endeavor ... more than any other company in the information technology industry," he said boldly. For instance, Microsoft develops software for a broad range of devices, from PCs to televisions to telephones. "This is not a set of unconnected experiences," he said.

How does that translate to sales and income? It could become evident in the coming months, as Microsoft releases new versions of its software for mobile phones, Windows and Microsoft TV. "In the next year our product pipeline will double that of the last three years," Ballmer said. "We are committed to keeping up with the changing world."

And never one to shy away from hyperbole, Ballmer added, "The opportunity we have for growth is phenomenal."

While short on concrete details, Ballmer did offer some hints at how the company is viewing its much-anticipated and delayed new release of Windows, recently renamed Vista from its prior codename Longhorn.

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