Steve Ballmer is on a mission to beat Google. This article summarizes a speech he gave in Massachusetts. His main focus: MSFT is “Hell-bent” to lead in search. “I see a world of incredible possibility and opportunity,” in the online ad biz, he added.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, MSFT is quite focused on search, and while Longhorn seems a far way off, this is a long term game. When they feel challenged, they respond. The decision to clean up their act with regard to paid inclusion, which probably cost them tens of millions in near term revenues, is a good indication of this.