back to article Ballmer: One day, Bing will actually make money

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has insisted that one day, the company's Google-battling Bing search engine will actually make money. "Search is going to be an ever-growing share of Microsoft's profits," the big man bellowed - literally bellowed - during a wide-ranging question and answer keynote this morning at the …


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  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Comedy circuit

    When did Ballmer start doing stand up gigs ?

  2. Bilgepipe


    Bing - so good we have to pay you to use it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ... is a gigantic bully.

    One day, Balmer may actually say something of some import.

    One day, Balmer may be more than just a big business knob.

    One day, Balmer may possibly be as important as his chum, Gates.

    The fact is, the man has zero original thought, everything to him is about muscle - big, brash, loud - shout down the competition. It's about denial, FUD and big big money.

    In short, the man is a dickhead of note.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      so you are basically saying...

      he is American.

      1. Mike Flugennock
        Thumb Up

        so you are basically...

        ...about 99% right.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Run that by me again?

    Ballmer says "the quality - both from a marketer and a user's experience - of a search engine depends heavily on the relevance of advertising,"

    I'm sure that when I use google I'm actually most interested in the search results, not the adverts. And if the search results are rubbish I don't actually how good the adverts are.

    Google has become a verb for a reason ... don't think Bing will make the grade somehow.

    1. Rob Moir

      the only difference

      between bing and google here is that ballmer, at least, is being honest about how bing makes money. Other than that... it's _all_ about the adverts baby regardless of which search engine you use. Don't fool yourself into thinking Google are any different.

      1. Penguin007
        Thumb Down

        "Don't fool yourself into thinking Google are any different."

        WTF? So if I get what I WANT in Google and NOT in Bing, it's the same?

    2. P Saunders

      It's just MS misunderstanding technology...AGAIN

      Just like they did the Internet and everything else.

  5. Efros
    Jobs Horns

    Dream on

    Balmer's in lala land!

  6. Tom 35

    No, No No!

    "The quality - both from a marketer and a user's experience - of a search engine depends heavily on the relevance of advertising"

    No it depends on getting a useful response to your search on the first page.

    With out a useful answer to your search there is no reason to use it. They don't come for the ads!

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    but what about the day after?

    i think I'd want more than 1 day's profit from that big an investment

  8. gollux

    Flying pig protection...

    Keep your eye out for winged pigs and be ready to don your weatherproofs. Hehhe...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, that's fucked it, then

    One day, Ballmer will realise that his every utterance is a curse

  10. James Butler
    Thumb Down

    Where's the metaphor?

    Google is the "Chocolate Factory" peopled by "oompah-loompahs".

    Apple makes the "Jesus Phone".

    Microsoft? I guess they're just a regular company without the need for a derogatory nickname. Must simply be a bunch of really nice folks doing spectacular work for the good of Mankind.

    Metz, your biases are showing.

    1. Steven Knox


      James, I think you'll find that the derogatory nickname for Microsoft is, well, "Microsoft". Think about it, won't you?

    2. Admiral Grace Hopper
      Gates Horns


      we always went with "The Beast Of Redmond". Metaphorical enough for you?

  11. Notas Badoff

    good, less confused than he is

    So glad to see at least two others were amazed at

    "The quality - both from a marketer and a user's experience - of a search engine depends heavily on the relevance of advertising"

    If I may mangle a quote:

    I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a statement.

    Ah, just tested searching for the above on Bing and one Google. I like results from Google better, especially as it brings up concept "garbage in, garbage out". Ohhh, that's why it doesn't appear on Bing - rules against self-referentiality!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bing Works Perfectly

    ... searching "monkey dance" delivers you on the first place

    Seriously, Steve, Bing will never, ever be profitable because in a short time even the biggest ignorant will learn that it does by no means comes close to Google. And the Search Engine Spammers ("optimizers") will keep it that way.

    Google has made improving Search a scientific effort, while everybody else is still somehow in the Altavista age. At least that is how it feels.

    I think the intellectual shallowness of Ballmer as compared to Gates shows. MS really failed to hire somebody who is a true replacement for Gates. My guess is that Oracle and Apple will have the same problem soon.

    Even Google will face that challenge - in 25 years.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ah... a shame?

    1 - one day Bing will actually make money

    2 - one day Bing will provide such information as to make searching for stuff the industry standard

    One is by an accountant with singular focus on the bottom line and the other by someone tuned in to user experience and productivity.

    Which camp does Mr Ballmer fall in to?

    And that is the shame.

    Good accountants are great 2nd in commands but not so good leaders (IMHO).

    A leader needs to focus on the drive to use with secondary focus on importance of generating revenue.

    To make the product indispensable.

    And that requires vision rather than pecuniary focus (although that is important too).

  14. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Bing and the iPhone

    If that happens then we will really know that Jesus(apple) & the devil incarnate(microsoft) are one and the same

    Apple if you do this then you will lose a huge number of 'converts' to your religion. Once upon a time you were the light at the end of the strtch in the Microsoft Prison. Now? There are many doubting that the words of St Steve the jobber are anything different from those of St Steve the Chair Thrower.

    1. Jim in Hayward
      Thumb Down

      I don't support Microsoft with my money...or my thoughts.

      If Apple installs MS warez on my iPhone (or iPad, or iPod, or iMac..etc...) I will drop them. I may have to stop computing altogether to get my point across. I don't support Microsoft or ANY monopolistic predator!

      1. BorkedAgain

        Can anyone spot the contradiction?

        " iPhone..."

        " I don't support ... ANY monopolistic predator!"

        *smiles sweetly*

      2. Bilgepipe

        @Jim in Hayward

        "If Apple installs MS warez on my iPhone (or iPad, or iPod, or iMac..etc...) I will drop them."

        Rather than spending four seconds changing the search engine? Bizarre.

  15. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Has Ballmer had therapy?

    He seems almost calm and collected for a change. Which is odd from the guy who said the iPhone stood no chance of gaining any market share.

  16. Tom Kelsall
    Thumb Down

    I don't use...

    ...internet advertising of any kind. If I identify a requirement or a desire for something, I use the internet to seek it out at my chosen vendors. I don't believe I have EVER clicked on an internet ad banner intentionally. Why am I the only person ON THE PLANET who operates like this?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Well said!


      Yes there is a small pocket of resistance to advertising and we stand proud brother, though obviously no one knows about us...

      I do a lot of photography and I use Photoshop an awful lot, I know it's power to manipulate! I know that 99% of ad's are complete bunkum, the images manipulated to suit product sales and bend us to the company's will. I can think of no obvious times that I have been browsing on the internest and an ad pops up for XYZ product, I have had a sudden desire to purchase XYZ product!

      Sorry ad boys, but when I too wish to buy something then I will do my searching and make my own decisions thank you!

    2. Paul Mitchell

      @Tom Kelsall

      "I use the internet to seek it out at my chosen vendors. I don't believe I have EVER clicked on an internet ad banner intentionally. Why am I the only person ON THE PLANET who operates like this?"

      You are very much not alone in this.

      This is why the cash-back programme has flopped, and presumably why his ad-click revenues aren't as high as anticipated either. I find it hard to believe that people who search for something are then going to click on ads instead of the search results that they just asked for. I'm sure there are some who fall for the "pretty" ads and do this, but the vast majority surely not.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    user experience ??

    Just to nag we changed a few months ago on some wifi networks the dns of bing and links to bing to google ......

    Till now we got no complains from the owners or their users

  18. Fatman

    Ballmer's predictions

    What has he been smoking????

    Perhaps he got caught up in Job's "Reality Distortion Field'?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Bing find anything hahhaaahhaaaa...

    at best it can't even find it's own navel bothers to use it ?????????

    make money.......give me some o what your smokin, stevie.....

    Paris, cause even she can find her fluff

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money makin', money money makin'...

    I know for a long time, Microsoft's Xobx division wasn't making any money. Did that ever change?

    1. Andy Jones

      Sort of

      The X-Box division have sort of made some money, but it really depends on how you look at it.

      1. One of the Halo games a couple of years back supposedly helped them turn a profit for one quarter period. And also, they supposedly made money from the 2008 Christmas period although how when they clearly sold the consoles at a discount is beyond me. Fanboys claim they do not make a loss on each console sold but that is bullshit.

      2. Microsoft accounting tactics sort of show it makes a profit, because they put the X-Box in with other items that enable it to show it makes a profit.

      Regarding no.2, Microsoft fan boys will bleat how the X-Box is making a profit but clearly forget about the other products in the 'Entertainment Division' of Microsoft.

      Also, the total accounting of Microsoft's X-Box clearly show that overall it has not made a profit - it is still between $5-8 billion in debt!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Bing travel

    OK - I do not know Bing (and I tend to avoid MS in general) but Bing travel seems to work well. I know it was bought from a startup...

  22. Heff


    @ AC 01:52

    Remember Windows Live! Search? collossal failure. Im not sure when it happened, but somewhere down the line someone at microsoft decided they should try and do absolutely everything to do with your computer and the internet.

    so far, for the home user they've managed 3 barely acceptable operating systems in the past 10 years. TEN YEARS. Why does Microsoft flourish as the OS of choice? There's no serious competition. anywhere they attempt to push into where there's already healthy competition, or even just a single other competitior, they fail, and fail badly. The Zune. Live! Search. Bing. They dont compete because they have absolutely no idea how to do it.

    Even in an industry setting they dont compete : how many sysadmins do you know that change from linux to MS or back again? people buy MS because they always have. people search google because they always have, and if you want to raise the Altavista shadow : There wasnt money in search back then.

    re: Anti google Apple. There's a surprise. I cant imagine google releasing a device so intentially crippled as the iphone, probably because google seems to still cling to that now-outdated idea of "once you bought something, you own it".

  23. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    We are witnessing a fundemental change in economics

    It is like the day that some, unnamed, hunter-gatherer said to his tribe, "Look, why do keep chasing these damn animals all over the prairie? Lets give them nice food, shelter, protection from wolves, and they will all be there, waiting for us when we slit their throats."

    You don't use a search engine to find adverts... YET. The sheep pen is this was, say, "Baa".

  24. Richard Jukes

    The American Solution.

    As per usual the Americans prefer to use the American Solution when it comes to problem. Whats that I hear you say? - Well its simple, they throw money after money at it till it works.

    It doesnt always work.

    It rarely works 'right'.

    Give it up MS, you missed the boat.

  25. billium
    Gates Horns


    "First, we've got to get to break even. And then we're got to get to profitability. And then we've got to grow share. That's how I do my math."

    I wonder if they will patent this mind numbingly brilliant algorithm.

  26. Grumpytom


    A lot of smart people visit these pages, and it seem to me Mr Ballmers personal wealth, corporate clout and so forth just prove life's about luck rather than skills or merit.

    I ask you, would you employ him to run your business?

  27. John 167

    seems I'm the only one then...

    *whispers* I use bing

    maybe I'm the only one? If I search for something I expect to see relevent results and it appears to me, not that I've done any scientific comparisons, that i get the links i want from Bing. Maybe google or others would produce some extra ones, sort them in a different order, miss some out.... does it really make much difference? if I want recipes for hedgehog stew & dumplings I expect a search engine to provide the links... does it really matter which I use? I'm not sure why some people feel so strongly about MS that they won't use anything they produce? Seems odd to me... I'm no fanboi of any company (ok, except Volvo!) because it blinkers my appreciation and consumer power by limiting the available options.

    And on the subject of ads ... given that I know people have paid for their advert to appear, and if it's relevent to the request for information that I've made, I'll click on it. Any reason why I shouldn't?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      There's more to life than a Volvo

      And that's why I don't drive one, or have any MS products in my life...

      Fuck Bing and the horse it road in on.

    2. Bilgepipe
      Gates Horns


      "If I search for something I expect to see relevent results"

      So do I - that's why I don't use Bing.

  28. Daniel 1

    "I was in Europe someplace"

    The arrogance implicit in this statement rather sums up why Steve Balmer should not be allowed to represent anything about his company. "I was in Europe, someplace - one of those places where we sell stuff - who cares? I was trying to convince the little commie bastards to buy even more of our stuff."

    Didn't Steve Balmer's own father come from "Europe, someplace"? His mother, too, since Belarus is nowadays considered as part of Eastern Europe!

  29. Barry Lane 1

    You don't think that...

    ...Bill left Steve in charge because he knew Steve would make Bill look smarter and even more successful, do you? I mean, has Ballmer actually got anything right yet? He's been wrong on so very much and I don't think that even a hefty Bung from Bing is going to increase its share of the action. After all, if it's got Ballmer behind it, you don't really want it in the house.

  30. PirateSlayer
    Big Brother

    I used Bing...

    ...after good head told me that if I didn't want people to know what I was searching for, then I probably shouldn't be searching for it.

    I used it for a few days. Realised that every time I searched for something instead of something relevant coming up, I got a bunch of spam advert sites for things I wasn't interested in (even when asking about MS code problems). I switched back to Google immediately because I get RELEVANT results and NO advert spam sites.

    MS have dropped the ball with Bing...I don't want a self serving search engine...I want a search engine that returns results I want...and Google does that in spades...sadly!

  31. The Islander

    Trust ...

    ... or the lack of it seems to be important to many folks here, perhaps reflecting experience of past corporate mistakes. Fair enough depending on your perspective.

    When it comes to accessing our collective knowledge electronically, I would much rather the world had choice from aggressively competing outfits than reliance on a true monopolist - whoever it should be.

    I abhor the ranking assigned to my search results, whatever engine I use. I fret over some genius in California weighting his algorithms such that information important to me is buried in a quagmire of "better" data, by his rule.

    (Sigh) Could we just stop the clock and revert to paper repositories, where real choice existed?

  32. The First Dave


    "First, we've got to get to break even. And then we're got to get to profitability. And then we've got to grow share. That's how I do my math."

    That says a lot.

    In most situations, you need to grow your share of the market in order to increase revenue, not after.

    Then, breaking even lives right slap-bang alongside profitability - if you get to break even, but never turn a profit then there is something extremely unusual happening; getting from one position to the other shouldn't take any great effort.

  33. Ned Fowden

    @ Commentards galore

    most of you are missing the point of the message, Google and Bing are only interested in the money generating area's, i.e. businesses, not your pathetic searches for Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie.

    maybe get your head out of your MS hating arses before posting drivel with no relevance to the topic at hand

    1. PirateSlayer

      Bit vitriolic!

      I think you're missing the point of a lot of commentards feelings.

      I couldn't give a rats arse about Google or MS...all I want to carry out are pathetic searches for Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie. The search engine which returns the results I want (normally Google) is the one I use...simple! Bing is a pile of excrement. I have no axe to grind with MS.

  34. Bob Terwilliger

    The thing with Bing

    Is that no matter what search results are returned, there's always a nagging thought that Google will return better results.

    Maybe Microsoft should be pushing some money into search engine aggregation services as well as burning money on the big bing bonfire.

  35. Gareth.

    My thoughts on a couple of Ballmer's quotes...

    "First, we've got to get to break even. And then we're got to get to profitability."

    No, first you have to go back to school to learn the correct use of the English language.

    "The quality - both from a marketer and a user's experience - of a search engine depends heavily on the relevance of advertising, and the relevance of advertising depends heavily on the density of bids," Ballmer explained.

    And that, Mr Ballmer, is the reason why your search engine will never be as successful as Google.

    Google realised from very early on that the adverts are not the reason people use search engines. Funnily enough, we use them to - are you still with me, Steve? - search for things. Google was and still is the market leader because first and foremost they offer something we need.

    They realised from the start that advertising would be a huge source of income, and sure there are adverts on pretty much everything Google does, but I consider them a necessary evil... they pay for the service that Google provides me with. They're inobtrusive - still there, Stevie? - and easily ignored (although some people must click them judging by Google's financial position).

    In addition, Google have got my custom because they either come up with new ideas that I like or they take existing ones and revolutionise them sufficiently to make me switch from other providers.

    I have used GMail since 2004, when other providers only offered something like 50MB of storage, and I've not paid a penny for it. I've not needed to use Hotmail since switching to GMail because GMail offers more of what I need and displays some adverts that I don't even notice most of the time.

    Similarly, I used to use MultiMap until I saw Google Earth and Google Maps.... Street View is one of my favourite parts of Google's empire (have look at Street View coverage in France, hopefully the UK will get the same level soon). I tried Bing's version of Google Maps but it doesn't even begin to compare in terms of features, frequency of updates, ease-of-use, etc... You've got to be insane (or on Microsoft's payroll) to use Bing's version instead of using Google Maps.

    I could go on... there are so many sites that Google owns, services that Google provides and features that Google allows me to use (Youtube, Google News, Google Chrome, etc... etc... etc...) but the common feature is that they are all of benefit to me primarily - not to some investors and shareholders.

    I see that some people are starting to turn against Google, personally I still love 'em to bits. I'm happy to have them track my searches and display adverts accordingly as long as they keep offering me what I want. Microsoft doesn't offer me what I want, and it appears they're not about to do so judging by Ballmer's comments, so I can't see my allegiance shifting any time soon.

    Now, if only Google would give me a Nexus One for free!

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Ballmer subconsciously quoting South Park

    Step 1: Release Bing

    Step 2: ?????

    Step 3: Profit!!!

  37. YumDogfood

    Is this a plotline from Dune?

    Baron Vladimir Harkonnen - BillyG

    Glossu "Beast" Rabban - SteveB

    Feyd-Rautha - ?

    BVH leaves the beast in charge to screw things up, then has FR come into play in the second half as a savior.

  38. Mike Flugennock

    the quality of search depends on...

    ...the relevance of... ADVERTISING?

    Pardon me while I laugh until I piss myself.

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