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Ballmer woos students, ogles Google's search & ad model

Steve ponders hits, misses and nothing inbetween

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Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer hung out with some more university students yesterday, as he continued his campaign to convince would-be technology and science graduates to work for the software giant.

Speaking at the University of Washington, Ballmer explained that the company is still learning how to get things right with all of its product launches.

“We got cases (products) that went BRILLIANTLY,” he characteristically thundered, reports TechFlash (vid).

“We got cases that we are working on. And there is no other category in our life.”

His comments represented the MS CEO’s latest mea culpa about his failure to get a tablet product out the door ahead of Apple’s fondle slab, the iPad: a fact that cost him the maximum bonus from Microsoft's board of directors this year.

“Trying to skate ahead as they say in hockey to where the puck will be. There’s not a science for that… When we do it well, things have happened to us… you can be early, or you can be later but you don’t quite get the same outcome and that’s one of the things that’s gotta be mixed into this system.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Ballmer said that Google wonks were better at developing products when some thought goes behind their release.

“Google tends to throw a lot more things against the wall, so to speak and yet the things that are really strong for them weren’t done that way,” he said.

This was all part of Ballmer's pitch to get the best and brightest students to work at the software giant. It seems like he's going to have to use all his salesman skills to pull that one off.

One student asked, "I know when companies come here and talk to us, other companies have made a much more compelling argument as to, you know, the challenges of the things that they're working on, as opposed to Microsoft. I was just wondering if you thought that might be a problem, and if you had any potential solutions."

According to Techflash Ballmer's answer included something about Microsoft being "right up there with anyone on the planet" when it came to interesting work, before he clapped his hands and reeled off a list of products.

So presumably it's just the quality of the Google canteen that makes Mountain View the hot ticket for techy students these days.

Ballmer added that Eric Schmidt’s company’s successful search and advertising biz model had “surprised” him.

“We would have liked to have been able to do that,” he said, according to SeattlePI. ®

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