There is still more work to be done on Windows Vista, said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, on the day the company's highly-anticipated operating system is officially released to enterprise customers.
Speaking to reporters at the business launch (read here, here, and here) of Windows Vista and Office 2007, Ballmer said Microsoft will "continue to do more exciting releases". "From an end-user perspective, we've taken great strides forward," he said. "But there's so much more to do."
For example, he noted, the telecoms industry has been pushing for higher network capacities. This will require Microsoft to deliver products that support an enhanced networking infrastructure, he said.
Also, the move from single core to multicore processors will require greater support from operating systems as well as software development tools that let programmers take advantage of the increased computing power, Ballmer said.
"The amount of new hardware innovation that needs to be supported is really quite dramatic," he said. "Hardware has [opened up] a bunch of work we need to do." Ballmer also touched on the additional work that Microsoft needs to do for IT administrators.
According to Microsoft, one of the new features in Windows Vista will allow IT administrators to deploy a single image of the OS across their organization. Previously, Windows administrators had to create separate installation images that would vary according to hardware configurations.
But, even with that, Ballmer does not appear to be contented. "There is a lot we want to do for IT administrators to make systems simpler to deploy and manage…and cheaper," he said.
The chief executive also said there is a lot more Microsoft can do for software developers.
"People will remind us that [they] want some storage and file system innovation that was part of the original Longhorn thinking," he said, referring to Vista's previous codename. "It's not part of [the released Vista] product, but there's more to be done on that front."
Microsoft had initially planned to include WinFS, its next-generation file system, as one of the three "pillars" of Windows Vista. The feature was eventually pulled out, and will be incorporated into the next version of SQL Server instead.
Ballmer said: "You need to give new technologies time to incubate before you try to integrate them all together.
"We tried to do a new user interface on top of a new presentation service, with a new file system, a new communications infrastructure, and a new programming model simultaneously," he said. "What we are doing now is to let each of them come to the market individually and get some market feedback. Then, we'll do the integration as opposed to trying to do it all at once."
Ballmer also underscored the importance of the Internet wave, where the industry is moving "from the world of software, to software-plus service, and how you do services within Windows is also a big theme".
"You can see [some of that in] what we did with IE (Internet Explorer) 7 that enables search to be integrated into the Windows and browsing experience," he noted. "I think you can expect to see [more of that] from us."
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