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!