Microsoft has adopted a tough mantra for an age of austerity, arguing that innovation must take a back seat to cost-cutting and productivity gains when it comes to selling technology.
"Things have come down. I see them staying down and slowly growing," Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, said today in a speech to British business leaders.
But does Microsoft's "New Efficiency" slogan describe the future of the technology industry? Or just the software giant's own subdued outlook?
In recent years, Microsoft has settled into managing mountains of cash and established customer relationships in late middle age. Its share price has also been less than dynamic, down 30 percent since the beginning of 2008.
But instead of making big bets on future growth, Ballmer contends that innovations must be funded based on their prospects for helping customers become more lean and efficient. The company recently froze funding for research at $9.5 billion -- still the world's largest such budget.