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Microsoft in Hot Pursuit of Google

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Kawasaki-Ballmer (photo by DBegley) At the Mix08 Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft loudly declared its intentions to increase its share of the search market. Yesterday, Steve Ballmer told a room of 1,500 software developers that the software giant has its eyes set on catching Google.

During a Q&A with Guy Kawasaki, he called search the "killer application" of online advertising which he said will be the next "super big thing" and is the reason for the company's Yahoo offer.

Ballmer lamented the fact that Microsoft did not get an earlier start in the search game, but maintained that they were still the "little engine that could." He even rallied the troops by reenacting his famous "Monkey Boy" routine from 2001, but this time gave it a twist by chanting "Web Developers! Web Developers! Web Developers!"

Earlier in the week, during his keynote address, Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie spoke about how search was driving community-based innovation in the software industry and how the change was affecting online advertising.

"With online advertising projected to grow from $40 billion today to $80 billion over the next three years, advertising is going to continue to be the primary way that we and you monetize services and apps of all kinds of the Web," Ozzie said. "And so in terms of strategically what is Microsoft's role in advertising on the Web, the answer is, in short, to do our part and to use the resources that we have to ensure that there's a vibrant advertising ecosystem on the Web based on a highly competitive ad platform that's attractive to advertisers, publishers, and developers alike."

Ozzie also said these changes are affecting the way companies store information. "Most major enterprises are, today, in the early stages of what will be a very, very significant transition from the use of dedicated application servers to the use of virtualization and commodity hardware for consolidating apps on computing grids and storage grids within their data center. This trend will accelerate as apps are progressively refactored, horizontally refactored to make use of this new virtualization-powered utility computing model. A model that will span from the enterprise data center, and ultimately, into the cloud."

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