Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the launch of Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 in Los Angeles to sing the praises of the IT professionals who use the company's products.
Ballmer described Microsoft's "Dynamic IT" vision, which fits into four main topics that customers have been discussing with Microsoft: achieving agility and managing complexity; protecting information and controlling access; delivering business value; and making sure that IT professionals are "not the cobbler's children without shoes."
"This is the most significant Windows Server release we have made since the first version," he said, citing in particular hardened security and power savings.
Windows Server 2008 OS is set to ship next week, followed by SQL Server 2008 in the third quarter. It is expected that more customers will buy the 64-bit versions of the products, in part because of wider availability of 64-bit x86 server hardware and the trend toward server virtualisation and consolidation.
"We think we now have the best platform, bar none, for hosting Web applications," Ballmer said in the presentation, referring to Microsoft's Internet Information Services Web server and Silverlight, its browser plug-in for building rich Internet applications.
Ballmer also looked ahead to the upcoming release of Microsoft's virtualisation hypervisor, Hyper-V, which will be offered free with the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008.
"I think it's well-known we're not the market leader in server virtualisation," he acknowledged, but added, "We want to democratise virtualisation. Virtualisation should be properly, if desired, run on 90 percent or 100 percent of servers, not the current 5 percent or 7 percent."