Technologizer posts about Steve Ballmer

Ballmer Ties His Retirement to Live Search Success

By  |  Posted at 11:29 am on Sunday, September 21, 2008

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Many had assumed the Ballmer era would end when his youngest child goes off to college, roughly in about a decade or so: he even hinted to that effect himself. Despite these earlier comments, the ever outspoken executive now seems to be quite frustrated over the apparent failures of Live Search, and will stay on until it becomes a success.

According to commenters in this post on Mini-Microsoft, and subsequently confirmed by Mary Jo Foley, Ballmer told employees that he would stay on as head of the company until Live Search’s market share bests Google’s.

The comment is almost unbelievable on its face. Does Ballmer really think that Microsoft will be able to turn its search fortunes around? As it stands right now, the company is going the wrong way. Web analytics firm comScore posted numbers Thursday that showed Live Search continues to lose share in the US.

For August, Microsoft garnered a 8.3 percent share, down .6 percent, while Google gained over 1 percent to finish with 63 percent of the market. Its share of queries also took a hit, down 7 percent over the previous month to 977 million. This marks the first time since May that the company has fallen below a billion queries, and follows a period where Microsoft had shown some growth.

I just cannot see at this point any viable way — short of monopolistic behavior — that will allow Microsoft to come anywhere close to equaling Google’s share of the market, much less surpass it. Maybe the Justice Department’s new-found interest in Google’s advertising practices and the threat of antitrust action may help Microsoft out, but I doubt it will do much.

Maybe the answer to whether we should really believe that Ballmer means what he says lies in understanding the man himself. Those who have watched him all know that he’s been known to make some pretty crazy statements, and his enthusiasm has been known to get the best of him at times, so maybe its best to keep in mind that this may be one of those cases. You never know, however.

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Exclusive: The Seinfeld/Ballmer TV Ads We Didn’t Get to See

Developers, developers, developers, developers!

By  |  Posted at 8:45 pm on Saturday, September 13, 2008


I know I’ve written about this before, and I don’t mean to harp, but to me the most interesting thing about the new Windows ad campaign is not that it costars Jerry Seinfeld, but that it costars Bill Gates. It was only slightly over two months ago that Gates retired from Microsoft with a barrage of nostalgic fanfare. I kind of thought that his departure would initiate a changing of the guard that would involve him stepping back as the public face of the company after thirty-three years.

It wasn’t that I thought we’d never see him represent Microsoft again…just that he might take a breather and let Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, or other execs step into the spotlight, as it were. They may not represent a fresh new face for Microsoft, but they’re the guys who are responsible for the company’s present and future. (Gates may be unshakably synonymous with Microsoft, but he also represents its past.)

So when the news about Seinfeld/Gates broke, my first thought was this: What if the ads had costarred Seinfeld and Steve Ballmer? It wasn’t such a crazy thought–the man is, after all, the CEO of the company, and he’s anything but shy and retiring. And then it hit me: Thanks to the miracle of modern video technology, I didn’t have to wonder about Seinfeld/Ballmer Windows commercials. With enough painstaking effort, I could create a reconstruction that would reveal with uncanny precision what such ads would have looked and sounded like.

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