Steve Ballmer, chief executive at Microsoft, told a near full, but by no means packed, Royal Festival Hall today [Thursday] that "Windows is the cornerstone of the PC industry. This is not a Microsoft event. This is, if you will, an industry event" and added that "Most people will move to XP."
He also made it clear that .Net and Windows XP were two sides of the same coin. "It will take a couple of years to bake [.Net] in, but it will be, and Windows XP will be integrated into it."
He added: "It will be integrated legally, it will be integrated lawfully and it will be integrated appropriately," to chuckles from the audience.
Asked by Channel 4 news presenter John Snow, who was conducting the Q&A session, whether product activation was simply a nuisance technology, Ballmer replied brightly: "Ummm, no. Not at all. It does a few things but it only involves those copies bought at retail or by small businesses, not corporate customers... it is designed to remind people what their licence allows."
Ballmer also fielded a question from Snow on licensing costs, and promised that Microsoft would continue to listen to complaints. He said: "We've had a lot of customer feedback on this, particularly from you guys in the UK, a lot of feedback.
"We've made changes, we've tried to listen. If there's additional points then we'll continue to listen, that's what we're here for. We're here to help."
Ballmer told Snow that users who had bought a new PC in the past two years would be okay to run Windows XP, but those that had PCs older than two years "should buy a new PC."
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