In-Depth

Ballmer: New VS, SQL, BizTalk 'Ready'

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hosts rocking launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006.

"This is perhaps the most significant launch of SQL Server ever," claimed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "It's the most amazing launch of Visual Studio ever. And it's the most important launch of BizTalk ever." Ballmer kicked off the launch of these three products Monday morning with an overview of the products and their importance to Microsoft's broader platform strategies.

Of course, Ballmer's trademark enthusiasm seemed understated after a raucous (truncated) keynote introduction by rock band Cheap Trick. The band's introduction underscored Microsoft's "Ready to Rock" theme for the launch—videotaped testimonials running in the lobbies and before the keynote testified that the three products were ready for production solutions. "Customers are running on these platforms at scale," Ballmer explained. "I feel like we've crossed a chasm for people to understand that these are ready for mission-critical solutions."

Ballmer began his address by thanking the audience on site as well as all those in the community. "We've used a different methodology for these products from any other we've produced." He explained that these products, more than any other Microsoft products, have relied on Community Technical Previews (CTPs) and the resultant feedback to drive the product development.

He outlined the Microsoft platform—with applications and solutions built on the Windows Server System platform, this time with the recently announced "Live" technologies shown at the top of the diagram. "This is a broad application platform entering into its next generation," he explained. "We're at version 2, maybe version 3 of our next-gen application platform."

"This cycle of products gives us the next generation," he continued. "It's bold and innovative but builds on everything we've been delivering for the last five years." The platform includes "commonality": one app dev model, management model, identity model, business intelligence model, and so on.

He emphasized a "trusted platform" as essential to help people "make better decisions and get faster results." He illustrated the trusted platform and highlighted industry momentum—both renewed partnership with SAP and a reaffirmation of the Wintel platform. Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini appeared on stage with Ballmer to highlight both Intel's support for the new products as well as that of their hardware partners.

Ballmer highlighted quite a few benchmarks—but pointed out that the value of them is in helping attendees convince "those you have to convince" that "no job is too big to run entirely on the Microsoft and Windows platform."

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