NEW YORK — Microsoft (Quote) CEO Steve Ballmer rang in a
new Vista at Nasdaq headquarters here Thursday, announcing the shipment of the company’s updated operating system and the first new significant release since
Windows XP in August 2001.
“This is the biggest launch in our company’s history by far,” said Ballmer, who acknowledged delays in launching the new product suite in an aside. “It’s an exciting thing to finally be here — and that’s
all I’ll say about the past.”
Ballmer ticked off the principles underpinning the company’s design
philosophy for the new product suite as simplifying collaboration; improving
information retrieval; managing content; and reducing IT costs while
“Those are the design pillars that we had in mind from a business customer
perspective as we developed Vista,” he said.
Among the most obvious feature enhancements can be found in search, where users can enter terms in the “Programs” pane, which they can launch by pressing the Windows icon key on their keyboards.
The search includes all documents to which users have access on network
drives and local clients. The results appear in a new window as a “live preview” –- an icon of the first page of each document for easy identification.
The new operating system also includes a new desktop interface and
navigation features, named Aero, that let users flip through open
applications as if they were flipping through a Rolodex.
The interface of the toolbars also incorporates live preview, allowing users
to preview style changes before they apply them, or the front page of
documents they may want to import.
Another key element of the new OS is enhanced security features.
Ballmer said that SharePoint Server 2007 will allow users to access data in
structured databases on a corporate intranet, such as an ERP
(define) system, work with it in Office, and then return the
changed data to the original content repository.
Diane Prescott, technical product manager for Exchange, also demonstrated
new voice capabilities of Exchange, which can be accessed by phone and can
read e-mail messages and take verbal instructions from the user.
For Microsoft, this is more than just a monkey off its back.
The release of Vista rests on the foundation of its People Ready strategy, as well as the success of some 30 other applications the company will launch beginning today through to the middle of next year.
In particular, Vista helps support collaboration tools embedded in Office
2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007.