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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 31, 2006 at 11:07 AM

Ballmer and the list of 70 things

Why is Microsoft’s spending increasing at the expense of higher profits? Chief Executive Steve Ballmer shed more light on the issue today at a conference organized by Sanford Bernstein.

When the company set out to choose the technologies it would focus on, senior executive Ray Ozzie came back with a list of about 70 items. According to a transcript of his speech, Ballmer responded by saying, “Dude, you can’t have a list of 70 things.” But Ozzie wouldn’t pare the list down. So that’s what the company went with. With a research and development budget approaching $7 billion, Ballmer said, Microsoft can probably afford to take those on.

One example of what’s on that list? Digital reading and writing. Pencil and paper will be replaced by digital technology, he said.

Ballmer also said that while it’s easier for Microsoft to recruit now than it has been in a long time, Google is making things more interesting.

“We have got one big competitor who is good at recruiting talent,” he said. “We haven’t had one for years, but we have got one now…. But hey, we compete well with those guys, and that’s good.”

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