Microsoft’s Ballmer gives unvarnished take on Windows, online businesses:

He sought feedback from the crowd of IT pros, many of whom have dedicated their careers to becoming expert in Microsoft’s products, on which Internet search engine they use. “How many of you use Live Search as your default?” Ballmer asked.

A smattering of hands went up. Tepid applause. “How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?” Far fewer hands went up and the room was relative quiet, until it filled with laughter.

Ballmer, trying again, louder this time, “How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?” The same response. “Wow, we offered 31 bucks a share,” he said, to more laughter.

“How many of you use Google as your default?” Ballmer asked. The vast majority in the audience raised their hands, cheering and hooting.

Ballmer looked around. Smiled. Scratched his cheek. Rubbed his face with his hand.