Are your people ready for more Vista and Office togetherness?

Summary:Unless you're a student of Microsoft buzzwords, you might have a little trouble cutting through the Microsoft rhetoric expected as part of the November 30 launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007.

Unless you’re a student of Microsoft buzzwords, you might have a little trouble cutting through the Microsoft rhetoric expected as part of the November 30 launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007.

The facts are straightforward: Starting today, businesses will be able to get the final Vista and Office 2007 bits. They will be able to take shipment of the final release of Exchange 2007 by mid-December.

But the wording around those facts is likely to be wrapped in lots of Microspeak. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to tie together in his messaging two of Microsoft’s favorite themes: “People-Ready Business” and “Better Together” in the “New Day for Business” event in Times Square today.

[Editor's Note: For more coverage of Vista's business launch, including reviews and video, see our News Focus.]

Microsoft rolled out its $500 million “People Ready Business” campaign back in March. The pitch? Microsoft's business software, including the forthcoming Windows Vista Enterprise Edition, Office 2007 Enterprise Edition, Exchange 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and other related products will enable companies to improve their team-productivity capabilities.

At the March People-Ready roll-out, Ballmer took direct aim at IBM, contrasting IBM as a services provider vs. Microsoft as a software provider. He also threw in a healthy dose of “Microsoft as innovator” rhetoric for good measure. (I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more of the “I” word tomorrow, as well as a possible mention of the "New World of Work," too.)

“Better Together” has a longer history than People-Ready. It’s Microsoft short-hand for the purported advantages of deploying and running multiple Microsoft products in concert. Microsoft’s reasoning goes something like this. Sure, you could run Lotus Domino with Microsoft Office. But why not take the simpler, better integrated approach and just run nothing but Microsoft products in your shop? Better yet, why not just save your IT staff the trouble and deploy Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 all at the same time, rather than planning three separate, time-consuming and laborious deployments?

Microsoft is encouraging its reseller partners and its own sales force to use the Better Together reasoning when selling the three new wares in the coming years.

Satire aside, there are some  benefits businesses can expect to incur by running Vista and Office 2007 and/or Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 together. Even though different Microsoft teams designed the individual products, it’s not too surprising that Microsoft-developed products would work more smoothly and take advantage of more of the functionality in Microsoft’s own operating system, given the physical proximity (and virtual sharing of interfaces, documentation, people, etc.) that the teams share.

(When Vista began falling seriously behind schedule a couple years back, the Office 2007 team was quick to note that it was not taking dependencies on Vista with its forthcoming wares. But there are still going to be features and functionality in Office that “light up” only when used on Vista. I’m expecting we’ll see plenty of those in the demos at today’s launch event.)

Stay tuned for more. I’ll be blogging from Times Square during the Vista/Office/Exchange business launch.

Topics: Microsoft


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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