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Ballmer: Windows 7 Will Save £100 A Year

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

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The cloud is here – within limits – said CEO Steve Ballmer, in a London visit to promote Windows 7 and the rest of Microsoft’s current catalaogue

It’s a busy year for Microsoft, and Steve Ballmer was typically ebullient on a visit to London this week – keen to draw a line under the Vista adventure and promote the success of Windows 7 along with Microsoft’s other new products.

eWEEK Europe heard Ballmer at Microsoft’s London headquarters and, though he did not take any questions from the press (so this is not an interview), the assembled customers raised some pretty interesting issues, and got trademark Ballmer responses.

The audience got most excited by some critical questioning about licence fees, with Ballmer admitting that the company does include “gotchas” in the small print, and dashing any hopes that the licences could be simplified. Other topics included the cloud, new user interfaces, and the advantages of Windows 7.

Windows 7 saves £100

There are 8 million beta users of Windows 700.000 of whom are in the UK, Ballmer told the assembled audience. Those users are getting savings of up to £120 a year per desktop, Ballmer claimed.

“[Business advisors] Baker Tilly are saving £100 per PC in helpdesk calls,” with Windows 7, said Ballmer, adding that the government of the Isle of Man is saving £120 per desk through streamlining management. BT also has a “massive deployment” of Windows 7, he said.

Users at the event backed this up: Chris Page, technical development manager at Warwickshire County Council told eWEEK tha tthe authority has hundreds of people using Windows 7 on netbooks. These are new users in schools, however, so he could not confirm the savings Ballmer claimed.

With Windows 7 about to launch, Windows Server 2008 R2 available, and the new cloud-friendly Office 2010 coming next year, Ballmer said he was having a “fun year,” and that “nothing is better than introducing new products”- though he admitted to the audience of users that his fun might “make their life more complicated”.

He repeated a message he gave in San Francisco last week, that the recession is driving a new efficiency in IT.

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“This is a time of incredible innovation,” he said. “Despite the tough economy – or maybe because of the tough economy – for everyone in the IT industry, now is the time to put on our thinking caps and be more innovative.”

And he made an effort to convince people that Windows Vista was a success, saying that in the end, as many people moved from XP to Vista, as moved to XP from previous platforms – a “factoid” that could do with a lot of unpacking in our view.