Microsoft plans 'premium' editions of Windows, Office

Top Microsoft executives have outlined sketchy plans to introduce premium versions of products such as Windows and Office in the hopes of driving more revenue growth.

CEO, Steve Ballmer, said the company expected to introduce a client-level enterprise edition as part of the Windows Vista generation as well as a higher-end version of Office.

Ballmer compared the plan to the introduction of the professional edition of Windows, which he said drove billions of dollars of increased sales over the home version of the client operating system.

He said that Microsoft was thinking about a new Office Server concept that would have premium client-access licenses associated with it, as well as a premium client-access license for Windows Server.

Chairman and chief software architect, Bill Gates, said the capabilities Microsoft offeredn sharing information, workflow, rights management and document lifecycle would become so common sense that businesses would want every desktop to have full access to the server capabilities in the Office product line.

That, in turn, would drive client-access license revenue, he said.

Group vice-president of Microsoft's information worker division, Jeff Raikes, said there were servers that people hadn't even written rumours about yet.

He said the company was currently researching how it could configure a premium edition of the Office client but had yet to finalise details.