Over the years there has been plenty of speculation regarding the sanity of Steve 'Monkey Dancing' Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO. But what is it with Microsoft and this obsession to pursue the search supremacy dream at any cost? Sure, I know Ballmer has sworn to kill Google before but the truth is that Microsoft just doesn't seem to have got what it takes to be the undoing of the search supremo. Which is why I cannot help wondering just why it is intent on investing as much as 10 percent of its income pushing Bing. Ballmer has gone on record to say that Microsoft is willing to spend up to 10 percent of operating income "for up to five years" and is confident it can "get an economic return."
To put that into perspective, based upon the $4.4 billion operating income last quarter, Microsoft could be investing as much as $1.8 billion a year for five years to further develop Bing.
But is throwing money at the problem really going to make Google go away and Microsoft take over as the new King of Search? Hell no, I don't think so. For once I think that Ballmer actually does have a grasp on the reason for the Microsoft failure in this particular market to date: it simply missed the boat and entered far too late.
While Google was getting serious about search, Microsoft was still mucking about. Google got it, Microsoft missed it. It, of course, being how to monetise the search business through advertising. Now it does get it, but even with Barmy Ballmer ready to throw billions into the ring the plain truth is that the search game has already been won, and Microsoft is not holding the trophy aloft. Bing does show some promise, sure, but it ain't Google. While some may argue that by investing so heavily in the technology Microsoft is sure to make up some of the gap, I think they are missing one small point: Google is investing more heavily, and continuing to innovate, and as long as it does that the gap will remain just too wide to leap.