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Steve Ballmer launches Office 2010 for businesses, talks about “The Future of Productivity” in Singapore

It is not often one gets to see the CEO of a huge, global company down in sunny Singapore, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was a picture of confidence as he talked about Microsoft’s new Office 2010 and its impact on businesses, and how cloud computing will make it easier for businesses to achieve greater productivity.

Read on to find out more.


If you use a Windows-powered PC and Microsoft Office for your daily working needs, chances are you would have probably heard about Microsoft’s upcoming Office 2010 productivity software, which Microsoft claims has been significantly improved over its predecessor to provide a much better user experience, a claim which has been backed up by the existance of favourable media coverage of the Office 2010 beta release.

However, end-user benefit was apparently not the only thing Microsoft had in mind with Office 2010, and in the business launch of Microsoft Office 2010 held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on 26 May, 2010, Microsoft Steve CEO Steve Ballmer described the various improvements added to the producivity software suite which he believed will help enhance worker efficiency and productivity.

“We put a lot of investment in Office, in Sharepoint, in Exchange, to focus in on reduced costs and allow one to do a set of phenominal new things. Today, for our business customers here in Singapore, we’re rolling out quite a list of new products; new versions of Office, Sharepoint, of Project, of Visio, our new version of SQL Server, which really has the capabilities for business intelligence, the capabilities to support itself, new facilities in our Visual Studio development set which lets you write custom applications on top of Office and Sharepoint,” he said.

He also spoke about the growing importance of having major services hosted in the cloud, noting that Microsoft is currently in the process of “moving the entire Office family of products into the cloud”.

“At the end of the day, I think that it’s important for everybody to understand and recognize that part of the way we’re going to achieve the kind of advancements that we showed (in the video), to attain the next step and improve on IT agility and costs, is actually by using the cloud in new ways to reduce the amount of expense that people are putting into data centres and capital to improve the agility in which new applications and services can be rolled out,” he said.

Explaining that nobody wants to compromise between “the best of PC-rich client software and the best of browser-based deployment’, he highlighted how products like Microsoft Windows and Office will define the experience of cloud computing.

“Internet Explorer 9, the future of Windows, the best of the internet, the best of the PC, the best of the data centre, all woven together…the cloud will create new opportunities and new responsibilities. we’ll come to you and say ‘Let us run your office infrastructure in the Microsoft cloud.’ That’s an opportunity for us to add more value. Instead of us just providing you software, we’re keeping it updated, we’re running it for you, we’re reducing people costs, we’re reducing capital costs. That’s a great opportunity for us,” he said, while acknowledging that the benefits associated with cloud computing also comes with its own set of responsibilities.

However, he stressed that the move to the cloud is something which businesses cannot avoid.

“It’s also a great responsibilty, because you’re going to come back to us and say, what about the privacy? What about the security? What other services it brings?…but this move to the cloud, it’s inevitable. It might happen for you today, it could happen in two years, it could happen in five years. But it is inevitable. I think particularly for raw applications like the Office infrastructure, it applies essentially to everybody in your business. We’ve already worked with customers in Singapore moving in this direction,” he said, citing an example of how Microsoft had assisted SATS and local non-profit organization RSVP Singapore in “moving a few thousand people to the cloud”.

Ballmer also highlighted the importance of the cloud’s role in enhancing not only social and professional education, but in education as well.

“Today, when we give you a piece of software, it does the same thing everytime. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t watch you, learn about you, watch the world, learn about the world and get better. It gets better when we ship you a new release, or update the servers. Search works differently today on the internet, and we think we can bring some of the principles of statistical learning and improvement that we get from our general mileage with Bing about search, we can bring those to every walk of life,” he said.

He also took the chance to correct certain misconceptions that people may have about cloud computing, assuring them that their devices do not have to be discarded when cloud computing becomes mainstream.

“Some of you probably think the cloud means everything goes into the server, and all devices get dumped. No. We believe in a world of smart PCs, smartphones, smart TVs; not PC phones and TVs that are hard to manage, but ones that have intelligence and storage and processing, that embrace standards like HTML5, but then have unique and important value added, like we bring with the Windows infrastructure,” he said.

Coming up next: the dialogue session with Steve Ballmer!

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