Ballmer to Google: 'We Will Compete'

At the annual Microsoft financial analyst meeting, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Steve Ballmer vowed that Microsoft was determined to beat Google in creating the best and most popular search-engine technology.

"There's a lot of Google fascination out there and we share it, and we're going to compete," Ballmer said with characteristic bluster. "We're going to compete very, very hard."

Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of MSN Information Services and Merchant Platform, showed off a prototype of the new search technology, which he called Local PC File Search, at the meeting in Redmond, Wash. The technology allowed him to search both the Web and all the files on a computer's hard drive, even e-mail files, by keyword. The technology also could sort found files by type of file once the search was complete.

Mehdi did not say when the technology would be available, but mentioned it would be sold as some kind of service.

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Ballmer made it clear that Microsoft has no intention of playing second fiddle to Google"or to any other competitor in any market Microsoft chooses to enter, the likes of which seem endless.

"You always want to be first in the marketplace," Ballmer said. "We don't want to be a fast follower. If we're not first, we'll be a fast follower, but we really want to be first."