Steve Ballmer was addressing a group of MVPs attending a summit meeting in Redmond when he asked the following questions:

“How many of you use Live Search as your default?” Ballmer asked.

A smattering of hands went up. Tepid applause.

“How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?”

Far fewer hands went up and the room was relative quiet, until it filled with laughter.

Ballmer, trying again, louder this time, “How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?”

The same response.

“How many of you use Google as your default?” Ballmer asked.

The vast majority in the audience raised their hands, cheering and hooting.

Ballmer also took a hard look at Vista when he stated the following:

“Windows Vista,” he said, pausing for a moment, “A work in progress.”

The crowd laughed and applauded.

“A very important piece of work and I think we did a lot of things right and I think we have a lot of things we need to learn from,” Ballmer continued. “Certainly, you never want to let five years go between releases and we just sort of kiss that stone and move on. Because, it turns out, many things become problematic when you have those long release cycles. The design point, what you should be targeting. We can’t ever let that happen again. We have some things that we can’t just set the dial back, but I think people wish we could.”

I believe that Microsoft does realize that Vista is problematic and that hopefully they can do a better job with Windows 7. Vista still leaves a bad taste that Microsoft is struggling to overcome. Some industry observers doubt that SP1 for Vista will be enough to make businesses switch. Only time will tell.

I wonder why Ballmer didn’t ask how many MVPs use Firefox? 🙂

Comments welcome.

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