NaTasha Cherry Gates plans huge push for next Windows October 6, 2005
Preparing to launch its most ambitious attempt yet to drive growth in its two largest businesses, which together account for over $33 million in yearly revenue. • Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft has promised to launch Windows Vista -- known by its former code-name Longhorn -- in the second half of 2006. The next version of Office is expected to launch in the same time frame.
With the longest gap ever between major releases of Windows operating systems -- the current version, Windows XP, was launched in late 2001 -- Microsoft is facing pressure from its partners and developers to deliver technology that will convince users to upgrade. • Gates said Windows Vista will be designed to better connect and exchange data with corporate databases, find information buried in hard drives, and offer better graphics.
In a demonstration of Windows Vista, semitransparent windows on the computer desktop allowed users to see objects underneath, including moving video, while search results were displayed in real time as queries were typed in. • To encourage software developers to build and offer programs for Windows Vista, Microsoft also said it would offer $100 million to help them market and distribute applications written for the operating system.
Microsoft also unveiled a new interface for Microsoft Office, a collection of programs that includes word processing, spreadsheet and e-mail applications. • Microsoft has been trying to turn Office into a platform for custom-designed applications that can handle business tasks such as accounting, customer service and business planning. • In the next version of Office -- code-named Office 12 -- Microsoft showed in a demonstration how the look and graphics tabs within an Office application changed depending on the type of data that a user employed.
Important Questions • Is Gates capable of making an even more successful Windows program after such a production gap? • Gates is spending all this money in marketing, but what if people are tired of upgrading and decide against the new program?