BitDepth 553 - December 06

Microsoft launches its Vista and Office 97 products in New York to its business customers...
BitDepth #553
Microsoft's view of Vista is bright

Captions: The Nasdaq keynote of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO is webcast to the Latin American press gathered in the Pegasus Room at the Rockefeller Center.
Dinis Couto, Business Group Lead, Felipe Sanchez, Business Group lead Information Worker, Eugenio Beaufrand, VP Microsoft Latin America, Hernan Rincon, VP Marketing and Sales, Microsoft Latin America.
Photographs by Mark Lyndersay.

The view from the Rockefeller Center in New York was wreathed in fog, but the plans for Vista from Microsoft were effervescent with enthusiasm on Thursday morning. As the fog bank continued to roll in off the waterfront, the computer company prepared for the launch to business customers of its new versions of its Windows operating system and Office 2007 productivity suite.

In a room at the Center, not far from the space at Nasdaq where Steve Ballmer rang the opening bell at the exchange and would launch the products, 35 representatives of the Latin American media were settling in for the webcast of the launch, a global event reflected in countries around the world.

The Latin American group was accorded a rare honour, assembled just a cab ride from the "big media" launch in New York, but it's one that reflects Microsoft's hopes for business growth in the region, which includes the Caribbean in the Redmond company's marketing map.
According to Hernan Rincon, VP of Marketing and Sales for the company's Latin American operations, Microsoft established operations in the region for the first time in 1986, with operations in Trinidad and Tobago starting in 2000.

The company really traces the takeoff of its products in the region from 1996, the first year of US$2m in sales. Microsoft projects sales in the region at US$90m in 2007.
The sales pitch for this New York event was almost numbingly technical, and industry press directed, as Microsoft executives and technical leads offered details about the business advantages of the three products launched, Vista, the company's newest operating system, Office 2007, a long awaited update to its suite of business tools and Exchange server, the silent force handling e-mail behind many corporate firewalls.

Most noncommercial users of Vista won't have an opportunity to use the product until January 30, when it will be launched, presumably in a more popular way, to the general public, who will be able to buy a boxed copy in their local computer stores.

Key announcements
• Vista, Office 2007, Exchange Server and 30 other enterprise focused products are immediately available to Microsoft's business customers and partners.
• Exchange Server includes new mobility focused upgrades which include voice-driven mail access for Outlook users.
• Office Sharepoint Server 2007 offers business users the advantages of proven web technologies such as blogs, wikis, file sharing and "my site" pages in a secure environment behind corporate firewalls.
• Enterprise users can enforce company wide policy on data use and retention on a granular level, guiding the way that mail and documents are filed and removable devices such as USB memory keys can read and write to computers.
• IT departments can reduce the number of drive images used for back office deployment of systems.
• Microsoft spent US$25 billion on developing these products and tasked 20,000 employees with bringing them to market.
• The user interfaces of Vista and Office 2007 were extensively tested; one billion data sessions and 352 million command bar clicks were tracked.
• Five million Windows users participated in the public beta testing of Office 2007 and Vista, 630,000 of which were from Latin America and the Caribbean
• Microsoft foresees worldwide adoption of 100 million seats in the first year for Vista, 10 million of which are expected to come from the Latin American region.
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