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The Seeker: Steve Ballmer

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The Seeker: Steve Ballmer

Ballmer has his work cut out. He needs to make Microsoft (MSFT) an Internet player without jeopardizing its desktop monopolies, restore customers' faith in Windows after Vista sapped it, and imbue the company with a sense of direction after its failure to reel in Yahoo. Microsoft continues to mint money, bringing in about $1.8 billion monthly in cash. But in a world where software is moving from the PC to the Web, the company is being outmaneuvered by Google. Microsoft's ad unit is bleeding cash, and its search sites accounted for just 8.3% of U.S. users' queries in August. Buying Yahoo was supposed to help, but now Ballmer likely will need to chart a new course—without daily help from Bill Gates, who retired in June.