Google seems to want special treatment on Internet Explorer, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. His remarks centered on the default search engine in the Web browser. Right now, when people update their version of IE, the software won’t change their default search settings. “If you pick Yahoo, it will stay on Yahoo,” Ballmer said in a hallway conversation Thursday, after a speech he gave at the Churchill Club here.
Google, however, has complained about how the system works. The complaints could be taken as a disguised way to help that company grow its segment in search, Ballmer suggested. “Google wants us to prompt the users to change the defaults. They want to see a list of search providers, with the No. 1 search provider listed first,” said Ballmer, who was speaking generally and not recounting a formal meeting or discussion with Google executives.
IE 7 offers a list of search sites that can become a user’s default search engine. The list is alphabetical, so Google is listed after some (such as Ask.com) but before others, including MSN.com. IE 7 also doesn’t actively suggest to a user that they can change their default based on their recent search histories or other behavior.
“We want to make sure there is good, healthy competition in the advertising space,” Ballmer said. “Everybody deserves good competition. People have been telling me that for years.”
Microsoft’s secret weapon? It doesn’t sleep. “We have a tenacity and a persistence and patience to stay after it and stay after it and stay after it,” Ballmer intoned. The company, he added, is quite patient. Patience “is what distinguishes us from many technology companies that are important,” Ballmer said