LAS VEGAS--Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer arrived at the Consumer Electronics Show with his usual optimism, but he also brings a clear sense of reality: The tech industry is in for some rough times.
"The fact of the matter is, this is not a downturn, this is a bit of a reset. Those are quite different and we're trying to really suss through what we think that means for us," Ballmer said in an interview here with CNET News Thursday, a day after delivering the keynote address at the conference.
Ballmer talked about what the "reset" will mean for Microsoft, as well as lessons learned from Vista and Microsoft's move to put Office on the Web. When it comes to what worries him most, most days it's still Google, although he concedes he has had to spend more time recently on economic issues and making sure Microsoft makes the adjustments it needs to. He wouldn't go into detail on what (and who) Microsoft plans to cut, but it is clear that some changes are coming.
The following is an edited version of that interview:
CNET News: Obviously, Microsoft didn't necessarily get everything it might have hoped for in terms of the critical response for Vista. What are you guys planning to do differently with Windows 7?
Ballmer: Well, I think we made some choices in Vista to improve security at the kind of expense, if you will, of compatibility. With Windows 7, we're able to build compatibly off of Vista and really sort of just tune, if you will, the user interface, the performance, and at the end of the day, it'll be what the users think of the product that we're building, and we'll start getting beta feedback this week.
Q: How hard are you pushing the team to get Windows 7 out this year?
Ballmer: I'm not pushing the team hard, the team is pushing itself. They set some goals and objectives and of course we'll ship the product when it's--as I said last night--both right and ready and when we know when that is, we'll share that.… Read more