Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wants to grab the worldwide advertising opportunity by the horns. It's one big steer to bring to the ground. Ballmer laid out Microsoft's advertising opportunities during the company's annual shareholders meeting this morning. He spoke about the blurring lines between media, software and advertising. "It's a huge opportunity," he said. Ballmer observed that the online advertising market would surge from $40 billion today to about $80 billion in 2010.
"There's a much larger advertising [opportunity] as well, $600 billion worldwide," Ballmer said, referring to broadcast, print and other advertising channels. Ballmer predicted a dramatic "shift to digital advertising," for which software would play a pivotal role. He made a valid observation. Many advertisers and content providers are seeking to reach consumers in more places and by more interactive means. Software will be the major mechanism for delivering new advertising solutions in more targeted and interactive ways. Simple example: Advertising placed in online or console games.