Power Point: Take the first step

May 29, 2009, 2:58 AM UTC
Fortune

“I’m optimistic that we’re taking a big first step. And yet I want to be realistic. We’ve got to take a lot more steps.”

— Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the New York Times today. Ballmer unveiled Microsoft’s new search engine to the public at a technology conference Thursday. The search engine, named Bing, assists users with specific online tasks, helping them refine their searches or extracting the most commonly sought after data from web pages (think the U.P.S. box used to search parcel tracking numbers). Bing will be available to the public next Wednesday at bing.com.

Typically regarded as a corporate bully, the Seattle-based tech giant has been humbled by an ever-increasing loss of share in this realm to the company whose name has become synonymous with search: Google . No surprise then that Microsoft recognizes the big effort required to maintain a foothold in the market: Bing will be supported by one of the biggest marketing efforts in Microsoft history. Still, Balmer is keeping expectations low: “I hope over the next year we’ll see small results. Big as a percentage of our share and small as a percentage, maybe, of Google’s share.” –Jessica Shambora