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Ballmer speaks on Internet advertising, the economy, mobile phones and more

It's odd to hear the Microsoft juggernaut describe itself as the David to anyone's Goliath. Yet that is exactly what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said to BBC News.

Ballmer was interviewed by BBC News and talked openly about Microsoft, the economy, and the firms search goals. Speaking on internet advertising Ballmer said, "Do I wish we'd started the investment in search a few years earlier? Yes. We may be the David up against Goliath but we're working on it."

According to Ballmer, the big concern for Microsoft is the lead that Google has built in the online advertising market. Microsoft still plans to challenge Google in the advertising and search arenas, even after the much ballyhooed and publicized failed talks of purchasing Yahoo.

Ballmer sounded more like the Microsoft most are used to when speaking about rival Smartphone operating systems. He stated, "You've got to remember Android is version one....and it looks like version one. They've got one handset maker, we've got 55. They're available through one operator, we've got 175."

Ballmer maintains that Microsoft will hold other mobile operating systems at bay and remarked that open-source is not the most attractive solution to phone manufacturers. The open source operating system Ballmer was referring to was Google's recently released Android OS.

Google has said that it went open source with its OS to allow phone makers and mobile carriers to change Android to their needs. Google is much more interested in opening new advertising mediums on Internet enabled mobile phones than charging phone makers for using Android.

When asked about the maligned Vista operating system Ballmer said, "With their Windows PCs people have what I would call a love/hate relationship. There are things they'd like us to do better but if you asked them if they loved what they're able to do with their PC, I think they'd say 'Yes'."

Ballmer says that Vista has been Microsoft's most popular operating system to date.

Speaking about the economy in the U.S., Ballmer stated, "I don't think there's any confusion in Washington that they need to make smart choices to help the US economy." Ballmer warned that the poor economy could impact technology spending.

Many of the largest computer makers including Dell have already announced that the slow economy led to the inability to meet Wall Street profit projections. HP still maintains that it will be able to hit projections for the quarter. Retail stalwart Best Buy was also unable to meet projections for the quarter. When the computer market that relies on Windows products for the vast majority of their computers sees slowing sales, it makes sense that Microsoft would see sales lag as well.

One could see slowing sales of Microsoft's Vista operating system on the back of slowing overall PC sales as a reason Microsoft recently relaxed the requirements for using Windows XP on netbook computers. The netbook segment is surging thanks to the lower average cost for a netbook compared to a traditional notebook. Many netbook computers run Windows XP and expanding the amount of systems that can use XP would be a benefit to Microsoft in a sluggish economy.

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By Nachomal on 10/5/2008 12:08:10 AM , Rating: 2
Google was never able to beat AltaVista in terms of product quality(and certainly not on index freshness, AV was adding pages LIVE). The reason why Google won that war as nothing to do with the product itself, but as always, it was because of good marketing, compared to abysmal marketing for Altavista.(Including 4 logo changes in 1 year.) People usually don't remember that but for that autumn when Google was first released Northern Light was by far the hottest search product...then...Google became the Kleenex of Search. What MS is probably hoping for is a brand dilution over time for Google. (Tons of clones being released, slowly but surely diminishing the hive's market share) Cuil is an example of such start up.

Also, there will be a 2nd war for search when voice recognition technologies will be advanced enough to pass your queries directly to the search engines. This could " reset " the search market completely. And Microsoft got a huge head start there.

Pagerank a great concept? Give me a break. It's only a good concept to fill the pockets of Google's stocks owners. Pagerank is a simple recreation of the order of things present in the real world.(Reputation, Thrust and popularity) Don't get me wrong, it could be a valid search filter of a more global engine, but I find it quite scary that great information as to be popular for Google to think it's great information. And it's even scarier to think about the users of Google who are not realizing that they are using a search engine engineered to show them the Walmarts of this world more than the specialty shop at the corner of their street. That small shop that just opened with a new and innovative product. Actually, Google is currently making sure that those small shops doesn't have a shot in hell at competing for at least 1 year. Google is everything consumers don't want and we are just starting to see it. A big juggernaut controlling(Google's official mission is to organize all the information in the world) all the information of the world, on top of amassing all the information in the world from their dominant position in advertising. (Google, the company that "won't do evil" read: "won't do evil until it's necessary")

HTML 5.0 is coming next year(it's almost already here) and it brings the first (serious)forays in semantic coding. It is my opinion that a well engineered semantic search engine could really give Google a big run for it's money in the future.

And no, I'm not anti Google, not anti Microsoft either, I just want to warn everyone that a company with a monopoly in search could be much, much worse than an OS company. Controlling the desktop is nothing compared to being the guide of the cyberspace. On this Id like to support Yahoo! by saying that they have for the past year the best search engine out there. SES Strategies agrees with me.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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