Ballmer on Google: “They did it right first”

Thu, Mar 4, 2010


Earlier this week at the Search Marketing Expo (I was going to go but I couldn’t find it), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed if Bing can ever supplant Google as the top search engine on the market.

“There’s no good answer to this question,” Ballmer explained, “If you say yes, you sound arrogant. If you say no, you sound like you’re happy with second place. No one aims to be second, so the answer is yes.”

Ballmer went onto say that instead of blindly aiming for first place, they’re focused on improving search results, expanding into international markets,boosting marketing efforts, and increasing their search share slowly but surely, a few percentage points at a time.

But with Google owning well over 50% of the search market, it may ultimately be too late for Microsoft’s search efforts to bear any fruit. Ballmer the made a point of attributing Google’s success to the fact that they were first out of the gate.

“The No. 1 thing that Google benefits from in search is they did it right first,” Ballmer stated, “We started later. There’s a value to incumbency.”

Not be all anti-Microsoft here, but there’s a value in having a product/service roadmap that isn’t a function of what everyone else is doing.

But in all seriousness, Bing is the default search engine on Internet Explorer at work (don’t ask) and it’s search results pale in comparison to Google’s. Sometimes it’s like night and day, and I can only hope that there is no truth to the rumor that Apple is considering Bing as the default search engine on mobile Safari.

A lot more on the story, if you’re all into search, over here at the Microsoft Blog.


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