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Ballmer Touts Microsoft's Innovation In Spite Of Longhorn Snafu

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said innovation and customer responsiveness should be top priorities for ISVs, even as Microsoft itself last week admitted that the next version of Windows will fall short of the mark when it hits the shelves in 2006.

Speaking before the Massachusetts Software Council in Boston Wednesday, Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft scaled back the ambitious blueprint for its next version of Windows in order to meet its planned delivery date.

But the CEO, clad in a formal blue suit, red tie and white shirt, insisted that ISVs and developers will have substantial new opportunities with the innovations in the forthcoming Windows platform, code-named Longhorn.

"We announced a ship date last week--considered a breakthrough for us," said Ballmer, alluding to Microsoft's notorious reputation for delaying products. Still, he bypassed an explanation of the company's controversial decision to strip out one of the most innovative features expected in Longhorn--the next-generation file system and storage technology known as Windows Future Storage (WinFS).

Microsoft said last week that it would move plans to integrate WinFS into a future release of the Windows client and server beyond Longhorn's release in 2006, and would make its next-generation programming model and toolset, dubbed WinFX, the highlight of the next release.

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