Steve Ballmer admits Microsoft’s biggest mistake

During his address at the Executives Club Chicago, Steve Ballmer opened himself up to a little question and answer session in which I am sure he now regrets. The crowd went completely silent and you could almost hear a pin drop when he was asked: “If you could have one do-over, what would it be?”

With hesitation in his voice, he first addressed the fact that there is never “just one do-over” and I assumed he would avoid the obvious issues that many, including myself were thinking: Vista, Search, Monopolizing the industry, among many others. I was shocked however, when he had a response and it was direct, up front and honest.

“I would probably say I would start sooner on search,” Ballmer stated to the crowd. Ballmer stressed that the company knew of search the research and effort had been put in, they weren’t sure of the market and that they had no business model. It just wasn’t there. The company lacked in an application for their findings.

In an optimistic tone however, and speaking of the new “decision engine” Bing, he stated “we’ve got our mojo back now” and it’s “the little engine that could.”