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Ballmer talks a big game against Google
Written by Daniel   
Saturday, 10 November 2007 10:05
Ballmer talks a big game against Google
By Jacqui Cheng | Published: November 09, 2007 - 03:30PM CT

Google ain't no thang, according to the confrontational stylings of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The leading search-turned-services giant poses no real threat to Microsoft, Ballmer said, which is doing fabulously, thankyouverymuch. Ballmer is clearly tired of the big G's shadow, so he turned up the "what, me worry?" attitude in Tokyo this week during the launch of Windows Live Services—Microsoft's suite of IM, e-mail, photo sharing, and every other service imaginable—and made a serious effort to play down Google's level of competition.

Ballmer's comments are misdirection: Microsoft isn't doing as well online as it would like us to think. Live Search has long taken a distant third to Yahoo and Google in the search realm, although it recently got revamped to better compete with the big boys. But Ballmer knows this: "In the area of search specifically, Google would lead," he was quoted saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. Ballmer's message is simple: sure, Google owns search right now, but the pie is much, much bigger.

If not search, then what else is Microsoft trouncing Google with? Microsoft's sacred cash cows are its financial strength: the client OS and Microsoft Office. The latter, however, is under attack from online offerings, and Microsoft has been playing catch-up. Consider Office Live, which offers software-as-a-service add-ons to Microsoft Office, creating an ecosystem solution that competes with Google Apps for Your Domain. Both allow small businesses to outsource their domain, e-mail, web hosting, and document collaboration to Google and Microsoft. Google made moves in the space first, but Microsoft believes it still has the lead here, if only because Microsoft Office is the default office suite in use by most businesses today. The question is, for how long?

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