Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Admits to Wanting Do-Over on Search

There is an awesome post over at TG Daily (link). At the Executives Club Chicago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked a question that had everyone on the edge of their seats: “If you could have one do-over, what would it be?”

I would probably say I would start sooner on search,” Ballmer stated to the crowd. Ballmer stressed that the company knew of search the research and effort had been put in, they weren’t sure of the market and that they had no business model. It just wasn’t there. The company lacked in an application for their findings.

Wow. I’m amazed at his honesty. However, I completely agree. I also like how he referred to as “the little engine that could.” FYI: Microsoft is marketing as a decision engine, not a search engine.

Like a Fat Kid Playing Halfback in Soccer, Tries Really Hard to Keep Up

Tom Smykowski: It's a Jump To Conclusions Mat
Tom Smykowski: It's a Jump To Conclusions Mat, the new search engine from Microsoft, launched last week. And at the end of the week everybody was jumping to conclusions about Bing overtaking Yahoo as the #2 ranked search engine in the world. And that would have been pretty cool. I guess. Everyone in the SEO world would love to see Microsoft have a great product. And maybe it would have been cool if just for one week, could have jumped over Yahoo. It would have proven that you can throw out a new product and a lot of marketing and have a tremendous opening. But alas, Danny Sullivan is reporting that it wasn’t a Cinderella story after all.

Like many other search marketers, I was waiting for Nielson, comScore, Compete and Hitwise to weigh in with Bing vs. Yahoo data. Please check out Danny’s post at for more detail. But here’s the message:

What these data collectively show — and we’ll update if/when we get more — is that Bing has received a potentially significant traffic bump compared to Live Search/MSN since launch and rollout of the marketing campaign on TV and online. However Bing has (so far) not surpassed Yahoo for the number two spot.

Well, good luck, Bing! And on a side note, maybe you could answer the claim that is switching title tags with search queries to increase clickthru (here). I mean, that would be crazy. Replacing the title tag from a page with the exact search query – only to increase clickthru? Well, that is definitely grey area. It makes me kinda happy in a way, but my clients are not going to like it. Just sayin’ is all…

Also, remember that scene from Groundhog Day, where Ned Ryerson yells “Bing!” about 100 times in 60 seconds? Why isn’t Microsoft using that video as the official marketing video for It could have gone viral. Just ask Rand. He’d agree. Well, probably not. But I seriously would not be surprised if this scene from Groundhog Day did not play a role in naming the new Microsoft search engine. I mean, everyone loves Ned Ryerson. Why not use his quote as the name for a search engine? Check out the video and see for yourself: