NEW ORLEANS�Information worker productivity is at a tipping point, becoming a workspace for innovation, integration and teams, with Microsoft itself making a major transition and working with its partners to make this happen, Jeff Raikes, Microsoft's group vice president on productivity and business solutions, said Friday.

Addressing several thousand attendees at the Worldwide Partner Conference, he took a swipe at Linux (news - web sites), open source and StarOffice, saying, "they simply accept the view that what they have is good enough. That view does not foster innovation. Being where we were with Office 1997 is not good enough for us," he said.

Microsoft Office 2003 shows the new potential of information worker productivity, where services come together to dramatically enhance what people can do together, said Raikes.

Microsoft will release more products around information worker productivity this year than it has ever released before, with nearly 50,000 Microsoft employees already using Office 2003 internally, Raikes said.

Randy Schilling, president of Microsoft partner Quilogy Inc., took the stage to share his experience with Office System so far, saying it has fundamentally changed his business and the way it went to market. Quilogy's customers wanted a simpler solution, and Office System offered them that, he said.

The company is already implementing solutions on top of Office System; for example, at Seattle's Children's Hospital it has simplified and reduced the number of applications used by nurses, doctors and staff from 60 to 10, Schilling said.

Microsoft's Raikes said research showed that desktop upgrades were a priority for CIOs in 2003, which provided a $2 billion opportunity for partners.

Microsoft will invest $500 million globally to reach out to customers through advertising and to establish a brand concept that shows the connection between using Office and success in the job.

Pieter Knook, senior vice president of the mobile and embedded devices division, told the crowd here that Microsoft is focused on making the PDA and the phone a bigger part of the solution.

"Our job is to make sure that our portable mobile devices fit into the larger office productivity and client vision," he said, demonstrating the latest Motorola MPx 200 Smart phone, which will start shipping in two weeks and be available on the AT&T wireless network in the United States.

These devices will also fit far better with Office System 2003 and Exchange System 2003, being integrated into a single server rather than several servers, which has been the case until now. Exchange 2003 will also be accessible from PDAs and phones with browsers, Knook said.

Source: Yahoo