It was a night for frank conversation with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Ann Winblad, acted as moderator for the event, which touched on the future and direction of Microsoft. The Seattle based company ranks third, globally, in advertising, but falls way behind Yahoo and Google when it comes to its search engine use.
"When you got nine percent of any market or less, it's going to take us a little while, we got a lot we need to do," said Ballmer.
Over the past four years, Microsoft has tried to expand its on line image, news and map searches, but Google is still number one.
"If anybody's going to provide any real competition in search and search-based advertizing to Google, I think Microsoft maybe unique in our ability to provide some of that competition," said Steve.
Part of that plan originally involved aggressively acquiring Sunnyvale based Yahoo. Even though Ballmer spoke for an hour and a half there was very little mention of Microsoft's failed attempt to take over Yahoo earlier this year.
"I was hoping, yeah, there'd be a little spark, but then again, he keeps things close to the vest," said Richard Gagosian, with the Gagosian Group.
That includes information about windows new operating system and other products in development. Still, those in the audience, made up of business leaders and investors, were here to get clearer picture of a company whose stock, today, rose three point five percent, but has dropped 25 percent so far, this year.
"He is going to continue to try to get parody with Google," said John Hummer, from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
"They're stuck, I'd love to sit down with him and say, you got to pear some things down and get really good again at something," said Gagosian.
That something may be revealed at Microsoft's developers' conference in six weeks.