Microsoft's Ballmer shows off SharePoint and cites IT's link to economic prosperity

Amidst hailing the company's launch Monday of its SharePoint 2010 collaboration platform, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the IT industry can help propel economic recovery.

Ballmer, appearing at the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas, noted he has had to talk about the economy a lot lately but did not want to do that today. Instead, he stressed IT as an economic booster.

"I'm going to remind you of one thing and one thing alone: That at the end of the day, the only thing that's going to enable growth and prosperity is advances in productivity and innovation, and the IT industry is going to propel a lot of that," Ballmer said.

"[During] the next five, the next 10 years, the challenge to transform the world through technology is as great today as any time certainly since I've been at Microsoft, which is almost 30 years now," said Ballmer.

The world is moving from PCs staring at a datacenter or the Internet to information being available on multiple devices ranging from phones to PCs and television sets, with the enterprise, datacenter, and Internet uniting in cloud computing, said Ballmer. "That's a major transformation," he said. There will be new interfaces such as vice and natural language interfaces, he added.