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Ballmer: It's OK to wait for Windows 7

Microsoft's CEO, speaking to enterprise customers, says Windows 7 is worth the wait and that a Yahoo deal still makes sense.

Some companies are planning to skip Windows Vista, and that's OK, according to Steve Ballmer. But Microsoft's CEO hopes that those companies come back for Windows 7.

Ballmer said that "if people want to wait they really can," ZDNet's Larry Dignan reports. "But I'd definitely deploy Vista," he said.

Steve Ballmer speaking at Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo conference on Thursday. Gartner

Speaking on Thursday at Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo conference in Orlando, Ballmer defended Vista and noted that "The adoption rate of Vista is faster than the adoption rate was of XP at two years in."

Ballmer did note that Vista has had compatibility problems with some applications and hardware, but that those problems have diminished. "We had a great success with security and starting to see a ramp with adoption."

Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald countered with Gartner survey data showing that 61 percent of respondents are thinking about skipping Vista altogether. Ballmer said that Microsoft would be ready for that outcome and reiterated Microsoft's pledge that Windows 7 will be compatible with Vista.

"Our next release of Windows will be compatible with Vista. The key is let's get on with it. We'll be ready when you want to deploy Windows 7."

Ballmer also responded to questions about whether Microsoft would revisit its offer for Yahoo, given the drop in Yahoo's share price. "We offered $33 bucks (for Yahoo) and it's $11 today," said Ballmer. "It's clear Yahoo didn't want to sell. They probably still think it's worth more than $33 a share. I still think it makes sense for their shareholders and ours."

Finally, Ballmer again teased Microsoft's upcoming cloud OS announcement, which he said will take place at the company's developer conference in Los Angeles at month's end. "We have a big announcement in two weeks at our Professional Developers Conference and we're going to run through this stuff," said Ballmer. He said it's critical that Microsoft has a platform in the cloud.

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