Facing unprecedented budgetary pressures, Department of Defense officials should reimagine how they think about technology, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Wednesday at a conference in Colorado Springs.

Noting Microsoft’s development efforts for the latest edition of its flagship computer operating system, Windows 8, Ballmer urged more than 700 military and civilian information technology managers and vendors to “think creatively and imaginatively about how to use technology to solve problems.” He made the comments during a question-and-answer session at the 15th annual CyberSpace Symposium hosted at The Broadmoor hotel by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Armed Forced Communications and Electronics Association.

“It is apparent that you are doing your jobs under unprecedented budget pressures that are highly unpredictable,” Ballmer said at the conclusion of the session, responding to questions from retired Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr. “Reimagining and rethinking is more likely to lead to the right outcome than spinning the flywheel faster.”

Among other topics Ballmer covered during a wide-ranging interview with Raduege:

• Microsoft has launched more new products in the past six months than any other six-month period during the company’s history. Microsoft has sold more than 60 million copies of Windows 8 since it was launched in late October — “that’s a lot by any measure,” Ballmer said.

• He showed off the Surface tablet with Windows 8 Professional that will be launched Friday, saying he was carrying no paper in his briefcase and that all his notes — including the briefing points for his speech — were stored on the device.

• Microsoft is shifting from being purely a software maker to a company that also develops hardware. “The way that people consume the value that software adds used to be on (computer) disks. In 2013, it is a foundational part of the hardware and is delivered through the cloud.”

• The Department of Defense and other organizations have had to change their computer security strategy to focus more on “protecting information instead of machines” as soldiers, civilians and contractors use their own smartphones and other devices to do work away from their offices.