Last modified: May 10, 1996 3:00 PM PDT
Microsoft VP Steve Ballmer speaks
C|NET: Have you seen any significant improvement in market share for Internet Explorer?
BALLMER: Some improvement. We're still at the level where even that improvement isn't something where you go, "Oh, oh, oh!" On the intranet, I think we're starting to make some real inroads. It's not clear to a lot of people why they ought to go out and buy the Netscape browser when our stuff will be very well integrated with Windows and will be very integrated with our Office stuff. So certainly in that [intranet] environment we've seen some great progress, but it's a little harder to measure. But I sure feel like there's a lot of momentum in the customers I visit. I see people moving fairly nicely.
C|NET: Do you have a specific expectation on the Internet? Do you think you'll get 20 percent by the end of the year?
BALLMER: I don't think we have a stated target. We just know we have to put our heads down and get everything we can, as fast as we can. AOL itself, if that all works out right, should be a significant bump, almost independent of everything else, but we just have to keep our heads down. We've got to ship IE 3.0--that's actually a very important milestone. We've got to get content that really takes advantage of IE 3.0. IE 3.0 is very customizable, which from the number of provider standpoints, is very attractive.
The best way to become number one is to first become number two! And the best way to never be number two is to seize number three and number four! When we started building market share in word processing, we didn't take it away from WordPerfect at first. Eventually we started cutting into them.
C|NET: Are there going to be just two horses in this browser race?
BALLMER: You tell me. I think so. I have not seen significant momentum, at least in terms of what ISVs [independent software vendors] or ICPs [independent content providers] are talking about other than our stuff and Netscape's stuff, but maybe I'm fooling myself. But I think that's pretty true.
C|NET: Bill Gates at Internet World said he thinks the Web browser is the fastest-growing piece of software out there and that if we don't watch out we're going to have another OS on our hands. Many people see Netscape Navigator as an alternative, on some level, to the traditional OS.