Microsoft has announced a new push into the business market, backed by a $500m (£285m) marketing campaign.
Over the next year, the software giant will release a string of products aimed at improving business productivity, in a move that will step up Microsoft’s rivalry with IBM for the business market.
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Under its People-Ready drive, Microsoft will introduce products focusing particularly on integrated communication and collaboration, mobile working, customer management and enterprise search, chief executive Steve Ballmer has announced.
The new products, the result of $20bn research and development over the past three years, would be enabled by integration of the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system, the Office 2007, Windows Mobile software and the next version of Exchange Server.
Marking 20 years since Microsoft became a public company, Ballmer told an audience of business executives, “People-Ready is a natural extension of our founding vision of empowering people through software. Today we take this to the next level by showing how these tools now work together in new ways to enhance innovation and drive greater value for business.”
Among the People-Ready offerings outlined by Ballmer, the next version of Microsoft’s Exchange Server would provide a speech-enabled unified messaging platform, integrating e-mail, fax and voicemail in a single inbox for each user, with support for desktop and mobile devices.