Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 13:46 UK

Microsoft boss sees weak growth

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Microsoft's Steve Ballmer tells the BBC's Robert Peston the company is not scared of competition from Google ahead of its launch of Windows 7

Software giant Microsoft's boss Steve Ballmer has said he believes that the world will be in a period of slow growth for "years".

"Right now, I feel like we're not likely to see a recovery," he told BBC business editor Robert Peston.

Mr Ballmer said that sales had seen "stabilisation" but had not recovered.

The world's largest software maker has been hurt by the global downturn. Profits fell by almost a third in the April-to-June quarter.

steve ballmer
Mr Ballmer said Microsoft does not fear Google

"I'm feeling more optimistic that we won't feel a second dip" in terms of economic growth, Mr Ballmer said.

When asked by our business editor if he thought the economy would "bump along the bottom for a bit", Mr Ballmer said it would probably do so for years.

The US, Microsoft's largest market, has been in recession since December 2007.

'Nothing magic'

Mr Ballmer also dismissed rival Google's efforts to supplant Microsoft as the most dominant technology company.

"We've had plenty of competitors come after us for years, there's nothing magic about Google," he said.

Internet search engine Google is developing an operating system for personal computers in a direct challenge to market leader Microsoft and its Windows system.

We've had plenty of competitors come after us for years, there's nothing magic about Google
Steve Ballmer

They already compete in search, where Google overwhelmingly dominates the market.

Microsoft is poised to launch its new operating system, Windows 7, this autumn.

The company recently said it would allow shareholders to vote on the pay of its board members, although their votes will not be binding.

The move comes amid growing pressure in the US for firms to cut down on excessive pay deals for executives.

Mr Ballmer's salary is $665,833 (£409,000) this year, though he owns Microsoft shares worth more than $10bn.



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