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Ballmer: We Wasted Too Many Years on Vista

Wednesday Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer addressed an audience of CEOs at the company's 14th annual CEO Summit. His speech covered business basics such as getting the product right, helping the customer, and remaining patient. The topics were apparently a surprise to the audience--Ballmer usually covers return on investment, equity and all that "bleh bleh bleh bleh bleh."

During the speech, Ballmer took an honest-yet-surprising turn and admitted that Microsoft fell short with Windows Vista. "We tried too big a task and in the process wound up losing thousands of man hours of innovation," Ballmer said. He added that Microsoft spent too many years building the Windows Vista operating system, but then paused to question about the appropriate time frame for research and development.

"What is the right window for innovation?" he asked the audience. "Six months? Ten years? Three years?" He said that the company has previously bet on things that are too far in the future, however he didn't specify any particular product (although Vista and the PC tablet are prime candidates).

Ballmer gave himself a pat on the back, however: the Xbox consoles hit the nail on the head in regards to racking in gaming-based revenue. He's also currently set his sights on cloud computing, forecasting that it will be a place where everyone will eventually work, tying together a conglomerate of phones, TVs, corporate-data centers, PCs, and anything else that can access and use Internet-stored software.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Queen of Jordan Rania Al Abdullah and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett were just three out of a hundred CEOs in attendance of the CEO Summit.