Ballmer: Software software development is too complex

Improvements in processing speeds, storage space and wireless broadband will drive a new revolution in information technology, but software makers face several challenges in their efforts to keep up, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

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Improvements in processing speeds, storage space and wireless broadband will drive a new revolution in information technology, but software makers face several challenges in their efforts to keep up, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Software makers need to create better natural interfaces, simplify programming tools and create better search and analytical tools for computer users, Ballmer told a crowd of about 700 people at the American Electronics Association's annual technology for government dinner in Washington, D.C.

Ballmer told the crowd he was optimistic that a new computer revolution would happen in the next 10 years, but he also ticked off a series of challenges for the IT sector.

Computers contain massive amounts of information about their users, but they still don't anticipate their users' needs, Ballmer said. That's where better natural interfaces can help.

"You want your computer to not only understand your words, but start to remember things about you and your intent," he said. "'Get me ready for my trip to Washington, D.C.' My computer knows absolutely everything my secretary does, but my secretary does a better job on that problem today."

Part of the problem is that search technologies haven't changed much in the last five years, Ballmer said.

"Your ability to find and analyse information will go up in orders of magnitude," he said. "Really searching deeply, picking up information and being able to assemble it is still pretty hard to do."

Ballmer also suggested that software development is still too complex, and that integrating separate computer systems still too difficult. The complexity of software development is still the "bane" of the IT industry, he said.