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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.

Category: Strategy
March 25, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Q&A: Microsoft chief strategist Craig Mundie on global competition, government IT

Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer, said Americans seeking to update their technology skills should look to the nation’s community colleges for training.

Mundie took a break from the company’s Government Leaders Forum — Americas on Wednesday to talk with me about global competitiveness, the government IT spending environment, prospects for cloud computing in government IT portfolios and more.

Earlier in the day, Mundie talked to the gathering of Latin American governors and ministerial-level leaders about using technology to improve health care and education. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to address the group, meeting in Leesburg, Va., on Thursday.

Here are edited excerpts from my talk with Mundie:

Q: You remarked on the idea that technology has been a great global leveler, contributing to developing nations’ transition from industrial and agricultural economies to knowledge-based economies. What’s available for people in this country who are facing layoffs now and want to compete on that global playing field that technology creates?

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Data centers, Education, Public policy & issues, Security & privacy, Strategy, Tech Economy

March 9, 2009 at 6:04 AM

Profile: Kirill Tatarinov, head of Microsoft Business Solutions

From today’s paper, a profile of Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft Business Solutions:

Even with somewhere north of $1 billion in annual sales, Microsoft Business Solutions is dwarfed by the enormous Office business that it shares space with in the company’s quarterly reports.

But Kirill Tatarinov, the group’s leader since July 2007, said MBS brings more to the broader Microsoft than revenue from its Dynamics-branded systems, which manage a company’s customer relationships, suppliers, inventory and other business basics.

It provides a “proof point to business decision makers” using the whole set of Microsoft server technologies, Tatarinov said. The Dynamics products “take advantage of all the innovation that’s happening” on Windows Server, Visual Studio, Office and other major products Microsoft sells to businesses.

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Comments | More in Corporate culture, Corporate organization, Personalities, Strategy

February 24, 2009 at 6:15 AM

Microsoft Strategic Update: Ballmer tells Wall Street more dramatic cost cutting would be ‘imprudent’

With Microsoft’s Redmond campus largely emptied out for the winter holidays, CEO Steve Ballmer crunched the numbers on the proper level of spending for his company against the current economic climate, which he has repeatedly referred to as a “reset” rather than just a recession. Ballmer said his own estimates for the weakness and duration of the downturn tend to be more severe than those of other business leaders he meets.

With that in mind, he settled on $27.5 billion of operating expenses — a level the company aims to hold relatively steady through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and during its 2010 fiscal year. Ballmer made clear to financial analysts meeting in New York this morning for the company’s annual strategic update that cutting back even more significantly — say to $20 billion — would be “imprudent.”

“I think this is right,” Ballmer said.

That should give some comfort to those wondering if the modest layoffs Microsoft announced last month were the beginning of a more significant reduction. Wall Street analysts and investors are pressuring companies in every industry to continue cutting costs as sales and profits slow dramatically.

The strategic update call just came to an end. Ballmer gave a detailed look at seven major business areas for the company. Check back here later this morning for more details.

Update, 7:50 a.m.: As he told Congressional Democrats earlier this month, Ballmer said Microsoft’s corporate strategists have been evaluating past downturns — particularly those driven by “deleveraging.” The team read company annual reports from 1927 to 1938 to determine who did a good job managing through the Great Depression. “RCA, God rest them in peace, became our role model,” Ballmer said. The company was able to dominate the television business because it continued to invest during bad times, he said.

Then he broke down how Microsoft plans to invest.

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Comments | More in Advertising, Apple, Enterprise, Financial, Games & entertainment, Google, Microsoft layoffs, Mobile, Office, Online services, Open source, Search, Server and tools, Steve Ballmer, Strategy, Tech Economy, Windows, Windows 7, Windows Azure, Windows Mobile, Xbox 360, Yahoo acquisition, Zune

February 9, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Microsoft among several software vendors providing sustainability tools

Here’s an annotated version of today’s print story on software vendors adding tools to track energy and environmental data to their business software:

With businesses scrambling to reduce their energy use — both to save costs and limit their carbon footprint — Microsoft and other software vendors are building tools that make tracking environmental data easier.

Today, Microsoft is releasing a free add-on to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for midsized businesses.

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Comments | More in Energy technology, Public policy & issues, Strategy

January 14, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Speculation swirls on timeline for next version of Microsoft Office; test version of Web apps due this year

With documentation and early code going out to select testers this week, another Microsoft guessing game is gaining favor: When will the company ship the next version of Office, known as Office 14?

Earlier guesses had the company aiming for a dual Office-Windows release, as it has in the past. But speculation today points to a 2010 Office release. (Windows 7 is expected by many pundits to ship sometime later this year — despite Microsoft’s official position that January 2010 is the target.)

I had a chance to ask Justin Hutchinson, group product manager for the Office client team, about the schedule for the product last Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Q: Is there any kind of goal to have Office in step with Windows 7 as Microsoft has done in the past?

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Comments | More in Apple, Google, Office, Online services, Strategy

December 29, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Catching up: Microsoft layoff rumors

Mini-Microsoft has drawn an ominous red circle on his calendar around Jan. 15. That day, the anonymous, unsanctioned company blogger suspects, could bring news of a substantial round of layoffs at Microsoft. While his post of last week (just after I stepped out for vacation) is clearly labeled as rumor, even the thought of cuts at one of the region’s biggest (and heretofore most stable) employers can only send shivers down the spine of Seattle’s cold and wet economy.

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Comments | More in Recruiting, Strategy, Tech Economy

December 4, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Qi Lu, former Yahoo search exec, appointed president of Microsoft’s Online Services business

MICROSOFT

Meet the new boss: Former Yahoo Qi Lu to lead Microsoft Online Services Group.

Just announced: “Microsoft Corp. today announced that Dr. Qi Lu will join the company as president of the Online Services Group. Dr. Lu will lead Microsoft’s efforts in search and online advertising and all the company’s online information and communications services. Dr. Lu will report to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.”

Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the Microsoft Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group, is leaving the company, Microsoft said in a statement.

Updates throughout at 1:59 p.m.

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Comments | More in Coming and going, Online services, Search, Steve Ballmer, Strategy, Yahoo, Yahoo acquisition

November 5, 2008 at 9:08 AM

Will Microsoft jump in as Google scraps ad partnership with Yahoo?

At 7 a.m. today, Google announced on its official blog that it was scrapping its partnership with Yahoo on search advertising:

“[A]fter four months of review, including discussions of various possible changes to the agreement, it’s clear that government regulators and some advertisers continue to have concerns about the agreement. Pressing ahead risked not only a protracted legal battle but also damage to relationships with valued partners. That wouldn’t have been in the long-term interests of Google or our users, so we have decided to end the agreement.”

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Comments | More in Google, Steve Ballmer, Strategy, Yahoo

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