Challenges from Google
Ballmer was also asked about the challenges that Microsoft faces from Google. The two companies have been clashing in recent months when it comes to search and consumer advertising, but Gartner analysts believe Microsoft and Google are on a collision course about the future of the cloud. When asked about people adopting the free Google Apps, Ballmer bristled at the comparison between Microsoft's Office suite and what Google offers.Ballmer also defended Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Yahoo earlier this year. While Ballmer said there are no current offers on the table, he still believes the offer made sense to both Yahoo and Microsoft. He added that Yahoo and Microsoft have talked about partnering on search. "It's clear that Yahoo did not want to sell the company," said Ballmer. "I think what we learned through that is that they want to remain independent, and perhaps there will still be some opportunities to partner around search. We are not in any discussions now, but it's an offer we made after the acquisition had fallen through. I still think it would make sense economically for their shareholders and ours."
"Let's look at facts," said Ballmer, his voice rising. "Nobody uses those things, and the usage data hasn't grown in seven months. If you look at the ComScore, it's just like this: It's just a flat line. You can't even put a footnote in a document."