Ballmer Busts Out the Bullishness
Similar to how Microsoft's Windows XP Professional edition drove billions of dollars of revenue growth beyond the home edition, Microsoft plans to release an enterprise edition of Windows Vista when it becomes generally available at the end of next year, Ballmer said. Microsoft plans to do the same with the next version of Office, due out the same time as Vista.
Ballmer didn't go into any details about what it would contain -- that could come from a later presentation from Will Poole, senior vice president of Windows Client.
But Ballmer did say, "I think of it [Vista] as the next generation of products from Microsoft."
Similarly, Ballmer seemingly tried to assuage concerns about Microsoft playing second fiddle to Google (GOOG) on the Internet."We are very, very, very, very committed about driving our presence with that community vs. any and all competitors in the marketplace," he said, referring to the billions of Internet users around the world. "We have won in the desktop," Ballmer said. "Now we're really going to win in the Web. We'll expand our services so we're the No. 1 place to advertise." And although analysts have generally disregarded Microsoft's smaller divisions such as mobile that have yet to generate profit, Ballmer declared: "They are really poised to take off." The one area where it's most evident that Microsoft is becoming more aggressive is acquisitions. Ballmer said the company is still unlikely to go forward with any blockbuster deals but has "dialed up the pace" of acquisitions in the $100 million to $500 million range to bring total acquisitions to $1 billion to $2 billion a year, Ballmer said. And perhaps most interestingly, Ballmer added, the company is a big buyer of its own stock, with plans to buy back more than 10% of the company's value. Shares of Microsoft recently inched up 8 cents, or 0.3%, to $25.80.
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