Steve Ballmer just not that into Facebook

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Give Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer points for consistency. Before the public bid for Yahoo, he said that the software titan had to get big in online advertising and that search-based ads were going to be a significant part of that.

Then came the play for Yahoo, which certainly would have accorded him the advertising scale he wanted.


Now that Yahoo is going its own way -- or actually, is going Google’s way -- the Financial Times lobbed Ballmer a softball: Why not skip right over search and go for Facebook or another New New Thing?

The tech blogosphere has been trying to matchmake Microsoft and Facebook ever since Microsoft bought its minority stake in Silicon Valley’s hottest firm, and that has intensified since the Yahoo debacle. Heated reports of Ballmer sightings near Facebook headquarters have gotten several commentators in a dither.

But Ballmer wouldn’t take the FT’s bait. He said:

I think people don’t understand what they’re talking about. At the end of the day, this is about the ad platform. This is not about just any one of the applications. The most important application for the foreseeable future is search. It’s where you start things. It’s where you express intent. It is important.

Hey, actual clarity. Now back to building that pesky search engine.

-- Joseph Menn