Vista, Office launch hits Nasdaq

New York (NY) - Today at its stock trading home, the Nasdaq building, Microsoft cut the ribbon on the anticipated updates to Windows XP and Office 2003 as the business versions of Vista and Office 2007 made their official debut today.

Steve Ballmer took the stage and had some fun with the much publicized delays surrounding Vista and the new Office. "It's an exciting thing to finally be here. That's all I'll say about the past," he said. At one time, the software had been scheduled to be released a couple months ago.

Following a bunch of business speak was a demo of the new main Office products. No new big details were shown, though the demonstration of Outlook's new voice access feature, which allows users to dial into their account from any phone and hear a playback of their e-mail messages, was one of the more impressive things shown without any glitches.

It was also nice to see the final versions of Powerpoint and Excel in action. Excel has new visualization features that let users see dynamic representations of numeric data on a scale. Powerpoint also has a slate of brand new GUI enhancements that allow more simplistic creation of sophisticated graphics and animations.

Ballmer went on to talk a fair deal about information security. He said, over the past year and a half, over 93 million sensitive records have been hacked. With encryption features included, combined with the enhanced settings on the new Internet Explorer 7, the company has a strong focus on trying to bring staggering numbers like that down, said Ballmer.

After most of the scripted portion of the presentation, Ballmer hosted a roundtable discussion with Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir and the COO of MTV Networks Michael Wolf. The two guests talked about how the push in technology by Microsoft helps them to move their companies ahead.

Overall, the event wasn't too exciting, and mainly catered to the intended audience of business customers. Ballmer made a point of saying that all the stops would be pulled when the consumer launch makes its waves in two months.

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