It was just a few weeks ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was downplaying Facebook’s originality and value—but now he’s bowing to a ‘higher power.’
He told WebWatch that:
In world search and advertising, Google is the leader, we’re an aspirant. We have a lot of work to do in search and advertising.
Of course, this does come a long time (okay, two weeks) after the New York Times slammed Microsoft only to highlight how far they have to go to catch up to Google in the online advertising arena.
I think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet there’s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people. . . . There can’t be any more deep technology in Facebook than what dozens of people could write in a couple of years. That’s for sure.
It’s also a step up from his allegation earlier this week, when he said:
“Google’s had the same experience, even though they read your mail and we don’t,” Ballmer said, to chuckles and and a couple of gasps in the audience. “That’s just a factual statement, not even to be pejorative. The theory was if we read your mail, if somebody read your mail, they would know what to talk to you about. It’s not working out as brilliantly as the concept was laid out.”
But lest we all believe that perhaps today’s interview is evidence that Ballmer’s hubris is diminishing, there was one other interesting quotation from him:
“Our advertising system works,” he said. “When we have something there, we’ll show you.”
I’m confused here. I think this quote must be too far out of context. Because if their system worked, why don’t they “have something there” to show us?
In reality, his statements and attitude are most likely the result of spending too long at the top of the heap. Of course, the same attitude can lead straight to the bottom of the heap once again.