Microsoft Vision II puts PC on back burner

Microsoft is reorganising into new groups in a step that could see less focus on the PC and more on optimising business data wherever it is located.

The groups will be enterprise, consumer and commerce, home and retail, developer, and business productivity. The last of these will target 'knowledge workers', a group Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates and president Steve Ballmer referred to frequently in an announcement the latter dubbed "Vision version 2". Ballmer added that the business productivity division's aim will be "to get more value out of the information whether it's on PCs or palm-sized devices". Part of that work will mean developing Office to become a better front-end to data warehouses and other back-end data, said Neil Holloway, Microsoft UK managing director.

Gates said businesses need to find out "how to deal with information, how customers can get more out of their knowledge". As part of that aim, Microsoft will pursue the idea of "any device anywhere... We're very enthused by developments in things like wireless and tablet computers," Gates said.

Microsoft previously revolved around three groups: operating systems; applications; and others.

Separately, Microsoft Office 2000 has released to manufacturing; availability for volume users in the UK will be in May or June.