Steve ‘not on the’ Ballmer?


15 Oct 2007

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Addressing a crowd at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Florida last week Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, admitted that while Google was a leader in the field of both search and advertising, Microsoft itself was a mere aspirant in comparison.

In an effort to catch up, the Redmond-based software superpower has already invested a sizeable amount in online search and advertising, including the recent acquisition of Seattle-based online advertising firm aQuantive for US$6bn back in May.

Ballmer said that Microsoft had a lot of work to do but that its advertising system does work and only time will tell.

However recent figures released by comScore show that these efforts have not yet paid off. Google holds nearly 60pc of the online search market while Yahoo! takes second place followed by Japan service Baidu, with Microsoft struggling at fourth place.

Ballmer also addressed Microsoft’s most lucrative area: its ubiquitous software industry. While dominant for many years, Ballmer himself said that it is now ‘under attack’.

With pretenders to the throne making inroads with collaborative, open source and free online applications like Open Office and Google Apps, Microsoft has finally got some serious competition.

Ballmer then said that the organisation needs to take control back. He addressed Windows Vista and the lacklustre uptake from certain customers. He admitted that there were problems with its roll-out and that many device drivers weren’t ready to take it.

He finished by stating that software should never be purely web based — that the key to success was ‘rich-client based’, being both self-managing and self-updating.

By Marie Boran