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Ballmer outlines Microsoft growth areas

At Microsoft's annual meeting for financial analysts, CEO Steve Ballmer spoke of premium client access licenses, an Office server product and a professional version of Windows Vista.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today outlined a bullish future, with expansion of both the number of products and services it offers, richer versions of existing products and areas  where Microsoft sees room for expansion of its market share.

Speaking at the company's annual meeting for financial analysts, Ballmer promised some new products in the Windows portfolio that will be of interest to IT shops. The company will release a professional version of the new client, Windows Vista, a higher-end, pricier version of Microsoft's Office and an Office server, as well as a premium client-access license for Windows products. "All of that drives new value," he said.

Ballmer said he expects to grow Microsoft's server market share by being more successful in areas dominated by Unix and Linux today, such as Web servers, in high-performance computing and computing clusters. There is also room for market share growth in databases and in e-mail technology, he said.

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Microsoft has already begun a transformation to more of a services model, which will impact the entire range of the company's business. Each group within the company has an active strategy to drive services growth. Ballmer cited several examples, including Microsoft's management of desktop infrastructure for Energizer Holdings.

Separately, Microsoft is also restructuring its own customer service and support business in a way that can drive future business.

Ballmer said he is bullish about the company's prospects for growth, and that the company will not be slowed by its anchor businesses. "Our future is bigger, bolder and brighter than the folks that watch us," he said.

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