Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer today outlined the company’s vision for how people, armed with the right software, are the key to driving business success. Called “People-Ready,” this vision for business is the backdrop for a series of innovative solutions in new and existing categories that Microsoft will bring to market over the next year. Addressing more than 500 business customers, Ballmer showcased new business solutions and explained how they are enabled by the integration across the company’s forthcoming versions of the Windows Vista™ operating system, the 2007 Microsoft® Office system, Windows Mobile® software and the next version of Microsoft Exchange Server, as well as infrastructure offerings such as Windows Server™ 2003 and SQL Server™ 2005.
Ballmer also said the company would be aligning its global sales and marketing organization and its worldwide partner network to execute against the People-Ready vision. The company also announced a series of investments including a $500 million global marketing and sales campaign designed to broadly communicate the company’s software value proposition for business.
In a nutshell, Microsoft wants to sell more of their cash cows to businesses. There’s more by following the link and in the press Q&A, but it’s pretty turgid stuff. Mary Jo Foley has a nice round up at Microsoft Watch including an explanation of the “people-ready” part plus this gem:
In a question-and-answer session with press and analysts following his remarks, Ballmer singled out IBM as the primary target of the new people-ready campaign.
“We’re staking out a position quite different than our leading competitor. That’s IBM,” Ballmer said. “We are talking about making the people in the business making more productive. IBM is talking about a project. We’re talking about software….IBM increasingly is a services company. At the end of the day, we’re a software company.
True, but Microsoft is a software company with a number of strong services partners like Accenture. I don’t think they will be turning away folks who want more than to just buy software, but it is a talking point of sorts.
Update: IBM fires back via Reuters:
In a statement, IBM responded: “Microsoft’s marketing campaign — you can’t really call it a strategy — is Window dressing for a pitch to keep a one-size-fits-all, proprietary Windows world.
“This is a product-driven, instead of a customer-driven approach. It’s clear our survey of some 700 CEOs indicates that business process and business model innovation is what matters most to clients, and that can’t be achieved by another proprietary piece of software.”