Steve Ballmer has thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of Google's executives.

Microsoft's CEO has told journalists from around the world - gathered at the MIX08 conference in Las Vegas - that his company will catch up with Google in online advertsing and wen searching.

Ballmer openly spokes about Microsoft's hostile bid to take over Yahoo, which has so far been thwarted by Yahoo's board after they formally rejected the $40bn bid in February.

Ballmer said that the proposed acquisition is part of a bid to take on Google, and to gain some of its market share; and he stated that this is something Microsoft will achieve even if its in his "last breath" at the company.

"So it may be my last breath at Microsoft, but we're going to be there, working away, building share", said Ballmer during a bantering question-and-answer session with Guy Kawasaki, a venture capitalist and one of the first employees at Apple.

"In online, yeah, it's Google, Google, Google, and we're in the game. We're just the little engine that could", joked Ballmer.

He did not, however, give away what Microsoft's next move will be in its bid to win Yahoo.

Ballmer said simply: "We've made an offer, and it's out there, baby".