Ballmer Calls Search A Five-Year Task

By: Doug Caverly - September 26, 2008

The latest Microsoft-related news has been more about Seinfeld, Vista, and Windows 7 than anything else.  Steve Ballmer recently made some public comments on another subject, though, and it turns out that the CEO remains as committed as ever to competing with Google in search.

Stockholders just shouldn’t feel they’ve been promised an immediate turnaround.  "It’s a five-year task.  It’s a long-term task," Ballmer said, according to Ina Fried.  And given the disparity in market share – Hitwise pegs Google’s and Microsoft’s percentages at 71.01 and 5.32, respectively – even this seems optimistic.

Case Leaves Blogger

Ballmer may be placing his faith in an acquisition-centric strategy.  Microsoft has made quite a lot of noise about its purchase and (partial) integration of Powerset.  Now, in the next year, "Probably my guess is we’ll buy another 20, 25 companies," Ballmer estimated.

"The sweet spot for us is under a billion more than over a billion," he continued.  "That’s not actually a financial statement.  But companies under a billion are basically usually technology and people.  Once you get to a billion, you’re buying customer-based and sales force and brand and all of the rest.  We tend to like and do better with the former than the latter."

Successful or not, then, it looks like Microsoft’s five-year quest will keep the smaller end of the search market an interesting place.

Doug Caverly

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Doug CaverlyDoug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

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  • Dave

    this just doesnt seem something that is good for the industry, they are not working to invest in companies, or building excellence centers, just waiting until someone shows up on their rss feeds or twitter networks and buy them and obsorb them into the larger company.

    a smart option would seem to be to split msn adcenter and search and build a new business, buying and buying more doesnt seem to be the way to win, just the way to keep your head above the water

  • FaTe

    What he meant to say was that companys over a billion have legal teams that will not allow Microsoft to just walk in and take over

  • George

    As we stated to all a month ago. when we lauched our website. A 5 year growth expectation is not an unreal expectation

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