Microsoft to gain online ad leadership in 5 years?

Following the launch of Microsoft's adCenter web advertising system last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says he intends for Microsoft to catch up with Google's AdWords and Yahoo's Search Marketing online ads within "about five years." adCenter offers similar functionality to Google's AdWords, but Microsoft says it enables ads to be served depending on the date, time, and the location of users. This type of functionality will contribute to making Microsoft a "solid No. 3 player," according to an analyst for Directions on Microsoft, but CNN says Ballmer still isn't happy about trailing behind Google and Yahoo—even though, by his own admission, Microsoft is "a little bit late in the game." Of course, the company might not end up relying solely on adCenter to succeed in the advertising business. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was in talks to partner up with Yahoo, and that it was still considering the option in the face of pressure from investors.
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