According to an article on InfoWorld, Steve Ballmer seems pretty optimistic about catching Google in the search market. When asked if Microsoft will ever be number one in search, Ballmer responded:
"There's no good answer to this question. If you say yes you seem like you're arrogant, and if you say no it looks like you have no faith. So the answer is yes, someday."
It's no secret that Google dominates the world's search market. Even Microsoft can't deny Google's power. Ballmer also explains why this is the case. He states the obvious; Google just does search right. "The truth is, the number one thing Google benefits from is they did it right first."
Ballmer doesn't see Google as being undeserving of their search crown; he sees them as some sort of search role model. However, Ballmer doesn't feel Google is without faults, citing privacy and data retention as obvious flaws. Google may have done it right, but Microsoft won't let them continue their search dominance without a fight. While they may have a lot to learn from Google, Bing seems to be a step in the right direction. Microsoft's latest search effort is just part of their overall attempt to gain space in the vast ocean of search. Cashback is mentioned as a contributing factor to Bing's success.
Taking over Yahoo's searches will also help Microsoft push full steam ahead. When asked if Yahoo will survive as a search company once Microsoft jumps in, Ballmer replied, "growing overall search share is job number one, and we need them to be successful with us." He also gives a "guarantee" that search will be a growing part of Microsoft's future profits.