Ballmer Pitches Windows 7 As Cost-Cutting Tool

Steve BallmerMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage today in San Francisco to extol how the company’s new slate of products — Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Exchange Server2010 — can help businesses save money and increase productivity as corporate IT budgets remain tight. The phrase Ballmer repeated throughout the talk was “with less, do more,” a reference to the tagline in a marketing campaign the company ran a few years ago.

Ballmer in a letter printed in the Wall Street Journal today said that corporate IT groups will increasingly be asked to advance innovation and augment productivity while simultaneously cutting costs. Enterprise consumers will save $90-$160 per computer annually if they switch to Windows 7, according to Ballmer. As he said during his speech:

“The (IT) budgets have been reset down and they’re going to stay there for a while…We’re going to have to prove to you that these products that we’re delivering and initiatives that recommend pursuing together really can help you with less, do more.”

Indeed, a report from research firm Forrester today forecast that growth in U.S. IT spending will decline 9.5 percent in 2009, with new software purchases falling 9.4 percent. Executives from Intel, Ford Motors and Continental Airlines were also on hand today to tout how Windows 7 has saved them money and made their employees more productive because of its increased speed.

Windows 7, Microsoft’s follow-up to the poorly received Vista operating system, is already available to large businesses and is due out next month for consumers and small businesses. We gave Windows 7 largely positive reviews when we tested out the beta version, noting its improved UI and increased efficiency. Windows Exchange Server 2010 will be launched later this year as well.

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