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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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April 16, 2008 1:32 PM

Microsoft sales video jeered across the Web, gives insight to enterprise sales pitch

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Someone has posted to YouTube what appears to be an internal Microsoft sales music video imploring the sales force to get out and sell Windows Vista to businesses now that Service Pack 1 is available. It's unabashedly cheesy, a bit hard to watch and quickly becoming the object of ridicule around the Web. But the message in the video sheds some light on how the company's sales arm sees its most important product.

To get a sense for the tone, the song in the video is called "Rockin' Our Sales" by Bruce ServicePack and the Vista Street Band. It's styled on Bruce Springsteen from the "Dancing in the Dark" era.

Here are some of the lyrics:

"Last year, when Vista was new

You sold the Optimized Desktop value
That's a pitch that never fails
And you saw lots of sales!

"But some enterprises said 'Wait and see,
we don't wanna adopt early'
Well that's over 'cause of SP1"

Clearly, Microsoft needs its salespeople to speed adoption of Vista in the enterprise. The company hopes that the release of Service Pack 1 last month will help make that happen.

The chorus:

"If they have been waiting

No more hesitating.
When they see the improvements in security,
The desktop and mobility and productivity
They'll say, 'Vista, gotta get me some'"

A recent Forrester Research report underscores the challenge Microsoft's field sales group faces in selling Vista to enterprises this year. Businesses stuck with Windows XP in 2007, according to the report released about two weeks ago. The study of 50,000 users at more than 2,300 large companies found that Vista is having a hard time gaining traction.

"Adoption of Vista among Windows users increased by a little more than five percentage points during 2007 to end at 6.3 percent. But, much to Microsoft's dismay, even this conservative growth cannot be attributed to upgrades from XP, which remained fixed at 90 percent throughout 2007," the study's authors wrote.

Windows 2000, XP's predecessor, saw its usage decline about 6 percentage points, roughly mirroring Vista's growth, the Forrester analysts noted. They added:

"2008 will be a make-or-break year for Vista: One-quarter of enterprises have scheduled 2008 deployments, but given the slow start, little gain in productivity, and the timetabled release of Windows 7 in [the second half of] 2009, businesses may decide to pull back rollouts or skip the version altogether, pushing Vista the way of Windows Millennium."

As with any internal sales video, there's a hefty dose of carrot and stick motivation:

"Quota is where your focus is

Gotta get those bonuses."

There are also some executive cameos:

"Wow, Microsoft's sales team rocks," says one executive at about 2:35 into the video. I'm pretty sure it's Bill Veghte, who was promoted in February to senior vice president of the Online Services & Windows Business Group, giving him "revenue responsibility for Microsoft's Windows and online businesses."

Veghte is followed by Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who leads worldwide sales, marketing, and services, a 38,000-employee operation.

"And we're gonna keep rockin' with SP1," Turner says.

Here's the video. Advance warning to fans of the Boss: You will likely be offended.

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