Microsoft Australia's new managing director, Paul Houghton, has described the US Department of Justice's recent finding of fact in the long-running antitrust case against the software giant as "a blip on the radar screen".
In his first address to the local media, US recruit Houghton said Microsoft "wants nothing more than to resolve the case . . . so the distraction goes away from the customers and employees".
"We think [last week's outcome] is one stop in the long process," he said.
Houghton said it is too early to predict "a remedy" for the case but he personally does not expect Microsoft to be split into separate companies.
"[However], if the company was to be split, I don't think the market would see any change," he said.
Microsoft Australia will nevertheless undergo some changes, with Houghton explaining that as the reins pass from his predecessor, Eugenio Beaufrand, to him, the local arm of the company will align itself differently.
"My predecessor spent a lot of time with channel partners to make sure the channel was cost-efficient. There won't be a significant shift in focus but I'll put a lot of energy behind the end customer," said Houghton.
Meanwhile, the recent announcement that Microsoft will begin offering its software, beginning with its Office suite, through an application service provider (ASP) model from May or June next year was yesterday revealed to be just a small cog in Microsoft's overall plan to become a software services company.
Peter Cray, Microsoft's marketing manager, said the company's long-term vision is to "move to a model where customers buy services rather than product packages".
Cray predicted that in five to 10 years time Microsoft would deliver software to customers via ASPs, telcos, Internet service providers and small service providers.
"But we will only do that in a world where we have constant connectivity," he said.
Cray said he expects at least 10 or 15 local partners to join Microsoft's ASP program in time for next year's full service launch.