Ballmer: Microsoft Poised To Compete in New Areas

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at the company's financial analyst meeting on Thursday, said the software giant is poised to compete in new areas such as search and music delivery over the Internet.
REDMOND, Wash. -- Microsoft's top executives, touting the company's solid financial performance during its 2005 fiscal year, told Wall Street analysts on Thursday that the software giant is poised for accelerated growth moving forward.

"The world is changing, but so is Microsoft," CEO Steve Ballmer told some 300 attendees at Microsoft's financial analyst meeting, held at the company's headquarters. "PCs are growing but new areas are growing even faster. We're moving from a world of delivering bits to a world of delivering bits and services across the Internet."

Indeed, rather than bracing for slowing demand for Windows PC and server software, Ballmer said he's bullish on growth prospects across a wide range of product lines. He further insisted that the company is uniquely positioned to compete in relatively new areas, such as search and music delivery over the Internet.

Underscoring Microsoft's investment in research and development, Ballmer spoke of a "strong innovation pipeline." "We're applying our own Moore's law to product innovation," he noted, singling out Windows, Office, MSN, and Microsoft CRM.

Ballmer was upbeat about growth opportunities in a number of areas, from PCs and mobile Windows, to software as services, servers, and high-end computing. "When you look at the last ten years we have won on the desktop," Ballmer said. "We will win on the Web. We will be the best place to advertise and have the best array of online services. There are only a handful of major players in the ad market and this company will be one of them."

At the same time, Ballmer indicated he believes there's still ample headroom in Microsoft's main revenue generators. "Windows and server [software] and Office are not slowing, but [are] poised for robust growth," he added. "We're [also] going to be very significant players in search and music. Our future is bigger and bolder and brighter than many of the folks who watch us think it is."

Ballmer noted that the company has recently dialed up its pace of acquisitions, but he noted that blockbuster acquisitions were "not likely," suggesting the scale of portfolio growth through acquisitions would be limited to about $1 billion to $2 billion a year.

Other speakers scheduled to discuss the company's product roadmap in a series of presentations throughout the day Thursday include Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and chief technology officer Ray Ozzie.

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