Someone is finally stepping up to the plate. I’ve been longing for Yahoo to care enough to challenge the Google empire, but it looks like Microsoft’s CEO is the one with the stones to do it. Steve Ballmer, in his speech at Stanford, says that Microsoft is going to have to become “more disruptive in search” in order to attempt to catch up to Google.
Ballmer realizes how big of an underdog Microsoft really is to Google. Microsoft doesn’t have the economies of scale or the money that Google that has helped keep them where they are in search.
“We’re not just a No. 2 or 3 player,” Ballmer said. “The No. 1 player is a lot bigger than us.”
What advantage does Microsoft have? According to Ballmer, Microsoft has less revenue to protect and can afford to take more risks. And that’s exactly what they plan on doing. I think we can all point out what areas Microsoft has failed in their attempts to offer a unique search experience, but what is important is they are learning from those mistakes. Ballmer will have you believe they are doing more than just throwing a bunch of ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks, but it sounds like that is exactly what they plan to do.
“We’ll try some new products that are going to be a disaster,” he said, pointing to Microsoft Bob as the canonical example from the company’s past. “It wasn’t terrible . . . it flopped miserably, but I am glad we did it.”
If Ballmer stays true to his word, this should be an exciting year for Microsoft—let’s just hope they start getting a few more ideas that stick.