Steve Ballmer was in good form at a recent Gartner Symposium meeting, when he was asked some probing questions about the future of Microsoft.
Of interest to our audience is while Ballmer does not think Windows Phone 7 is the coolest Microsoft product of the year (that’s reserved for Kinect) he did think it would be the companyâ€™s next $1 billion business.
He also said the company intends to win market share by providing regular updates, and aimed to win 40-50% of the market (!).
When asked how he would measure success in the short term, he responded, according to ZDNet saying:
- It should be an option for consumers. Consumers will think about Windows Phone 7 devices.
- A platform with a growing app market.
- Something that has a clear market response.
- Things will be coherent. Ballmer said he agreed with Apple Steve Jobsâ€™ take that Android was incoherent.
When asked about the Flash vs Silverlight vs HTML5 question, he came down solidly on the HTML5 side, lending support to the idea that the technology would be coming to their mobile browser also.
Is Ballmer aiming a bit too high? Let us know below.
Microsoft has concluded their investor conference last week, and made it very clear they are coming out fighting to win back marker share in the important smartphone and tablet market.
"We’re coming full guns," said Ballmer at the company’s annual presentation to analysts at its Redmond, Washington headquarters. "We’re going to sell like crazy; we’re going to market like crazy."
"We’ve got to push right now with our hardware partners," said Ballmer. "They (the new devices) will be shipping as soon as they are ready. It’s job No. 1 urgency around here. Nobody’s sleeping at the switch."
When asked what would happen if the new Windows phone software was not a success, or a repetition of the ill-fated Windows Vista, Ballmer answered: "It won’t be," adding that there was no contingency plan.
Read more about Microsoftâ€™s tablet and smartphone strategy at Reuters here.
Microsoft is inviting French developers to pitch application ideas to a panel of venture capitalists and also Steve Ballmer at a Microsoft-organized event conveniently dated for the 7th October, around when Windows Phone 7 is expected to launch (for reference Windows Mobile 6.5 was launched on the 6th October. Coincidenceâ€¦?).
7 developers will have 2 minutes each to pick application ideas, and the final 7 will be chosen from a larger group of submissions filtered via facebook like-button voting.
Julien Codorniou, development director of Microsoft France notes:
"Since the introduction of the Windows development platform Phone7 at MIX last April, we receive almost daily videos and demos of applications Windows Mobile Phone 7. We are pleased to see how the French mobile ecosystem is creative and innovative. This competition is a golden opportunity for independent developers and students to present their innovations and Steve Ballmer and shine before a jury of French entrepreneurs and investors behind some of the finest success stories of our industry. "
Jurors include luminaries like:
- Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft
- Pierre Olivier Carles, CEO of Kipost and co-founder of Labotec, business angel.
- Jacques Antoine Granjon, Founder vente-privee.com
- Ouriel Ohayon, Co-Founder of AppsFire and Co-founder of the fund Isai
- Marc Simoncini, founder and President of Meetic and fund Jaina
- Bruno Vanryb, Founder and President of Avanquest Software
This competition is open to all developers of mobile applications: students, hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and all independent developers, professional or not, may participate.
Read more about the contest at MSDN France here.
Thanks Ã˜ivind for the tip.
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In a CNN interview Steve Ballmer has expressed confidence in Microsoftâ€™s Windows Phone strategy, saying the first job was to reverse decline, but that, after a good reception from the so-called â€œblogosphereâ€ he felt the OS would take off from there.
Do our readers share his confidence, or is the marketplace much too crowded already for yet another new entrant? Let us know below.
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Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie, Microsoftâ€™s chief software architect, was interviewed at the D8 conference yesterday, and spoke widely about their business, including smartphones and tablets.
On smartphones he admitted to having neglected the business, but promised to execute a lot better in the future.
Ballmer: We had a good long-time employee who wanted to retire and heâ€™s going to do so. And it doesnâ€™t make sense to replace himâ€¦.On the phone side of the business, we learned the value of excellent execution. We were ahead of this game and now we find ourselves No. 5 in the marketâ€¦.We missed a whole cycle. Iâ€™ve been quite public about the fact that Iâ€™ve made some changes in leadership around our Windows Phone softwareâ€¦.We had to do a little clean-upâ€¦.The excellence in execution is an important part of innovation. Weâ€™re driving forward in the phone businessâ€¦.But this is a very dynamic business; the market leaders here have shifted over twice in the past few yearsâ€¦and thatâ€™s an opportunity for us. So weâ€™ve got to have great ideas and weâ€™ve got to execute consistently.
On tablets he still felt Windows was where it was at, saying â€œThe bulk of the market is going to stay with general purpose devices.â€ but did promise to compete in the space.
Walt: Walt talks a bit about Microsoftâ€™s history in tablets. Whatâ€™s the company doing in this area these days? Are there going to be tablets that look like the iPad that run Windows?
Ballmer: Sure. Youâ€™re going to have a range of devices over time that are light and donâ€™t have a keyboard and will run Windowsâ€¦.Depending on what you want, there will be devices that offer a similar experience to Windowsâ€¦.There will be others that will be more customized, more optimizedâ€¦.This will be a real competitive form factor of innovationâ€¦we will with out partners drive innovation in form factor. Windows Phone, for exampleâ€¦.Appleâ€™s chosen to do this as well.
We noted an article listed what Microsoft needed to do to succeed in mobile, and first on the list was not to be complacent. In Windows Phone we can certainly feel the sense of urgency in the company, but clearly in the tablet space this is still completely missing. Hopefully Microsoft will catch up before the iPad has an installed based of 50 million devices, like the iPhone has at the moment.
Read the full transcript here.
He was most recently confronted about his mobile strategy at Microsoftâ€™s shareholder conference, where he was asked why he does not team up with Nokia to fend of Android.
Steve Ballmer answered in full:
Small and important fact, we have greater market share than Google’s android. I remain dedicated to keeping higher market share, in fact quite a lot higher market share than Google’s Android, its a brand new product.
Of the smartphone market, which is the way these things would normally be computed, we would be 10-12%, Google would be 3%, Apple would be about 20% or so, Blackberry would be about 25%, Nokia would be some place around 45%, just to give relevant share.
And certainly our objective is to have the leading position amongst these players in the long term. It is a competitive game, we have just recently launched a new generation of Windows phones with new software. We are going to keep investing, I think we have a lot of opportunity to improve our product and our market position. I think we are early in the game.
I think we are on the right strategy, which is to focus in on the software that goes into phones, as apposed to building phones. I think that will allow us to offer a diversity of windows phones, just as there is a diversity of Windows PCs which is superior to anything you see from RIM with the Blackberry or with Apple.
We hope to, over time, to see what we can do with Nokia, we have a limited partnership with them,to start we are working together on office mobility, we spent a lot of time with them very much focussed on that, that aspect, but not at the Windows level, there is more work to do there, but undoubtedly we have our work cut out for us.
We are very focussed, we’ve really injected a ton of additional talent in Microsoft employees, very good thinkers, very good innovators, into that area, and we’ve got our heads down to do the best.
While staying above the Androidâ€™s current 3.5% may seem like a pretty unambitious target, Googleâ€™s Mobile OS is predicted by many to become the number 2 mobile operating system in the next 5 years, so Microsoft certainly need to do much to regain the hearts and minds of the worldâ€™s mobile phone consumers.