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Slide Show: The Future Is Now At The Web 2.0 Summit

Ballmer sounds off Microsoft search, other channel partners discuss the future at the Web 2.0 Summit.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer began his onstage interview with show host John Battelle by saying it's impossible for him to pick out favorite Microsoft products -- they're all like his children. Battelle grabbed the simile later to needle Ballmer about Microsoft's lagging position in the search market, behind Google.

"How about search? Is it one of those kids you might privately smack on the side of the head and say, 'Do a better job, Jimmy?'" Battelle asked.

The query sent Ballmer on an extended, hyperanimated riff about how Microsoft search is like a three-year-old sent out to play basketball against teenagers, to whom Ballmer would say: "You're growing up quick, you're getting better every day, you've got all the potential in the world ... you're going to DUNK on these guys some day!"

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