Microsoft has always encouraged entrepreneurship in its people, in its products and in the tools that millions of people around the world use every day to start, grow and run their businesses and follow their passions.
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In Bill Gates, Microsoft has been, and will continue to be, lucky to benefit from one of the outstanding entrepreneurs of recent generations, able to blend a deep understanding of technology and the software industry with world-class business acumen.
But Microsoft has never been just about Bill – from the outset Microsoft was built from not just the best and the brightest, but by mould breakers and visionaries such as co-founder Paul Allen. This is a legacy that continues to encourage innovation and foster success, and one which is a cornerstone of our growth, not just in the UK but around the world.
It is true that in recent years the world of technology has shifted again and Microsoft has not always been the first mover into new markets.
In the technology business, however, you always have to change, to look for what is around the corner, what is going to bring the most benefit to our customers.
We invest over £3.8bn in research and development each year, but we have been criticised that many of the internet successes today were foreseen by our development teams and not capitalised on.
That is perhaps fair comment, but Microsoft recognises that the search and advertising models are in transition, that the way television is delivered is changing, that telephony is changing – and we are in all these markets. We may not be number one yet, but we are meeting these opportunities and I think we are exceeding people’s expectations.
I believe Microsoft is well-positioned to make this transition; the business is strong, there is an incredible pipeline of products and services coming to market this year and next, and the leadership team has never been stronger or deeper.
Office 2007 is going to boost productivity for businesses and with Windows Vista we are going to see a step change in the operating system that is much more flexible, more intuitive and more secure than ever.
Ray Ozzie’s appointment simply underlines our commitment to innovative thinking and a dynamic business model able to deliver projects with clear objectives that meet specific business and consumer needs.
Alistair Baker is vice-president at Microsoft EMEA
Microsoft after Gates >>