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Steve Ballmer tries to convince analysts Windows Phone can be number 3

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Sep 2011 11:18 User comments (6)

Steve Ballmer tries to convince analysts Windows Phone can be number 3

Steve Ballmer continues to insist Windows Phone can be the number three platform in the smartphone market.
In a presentation at Microsoft's annual Financial Analyst Meeting, Ballmer said, "I think we're in absolute good shape in order to be a very strong third ecosystem in the smartphone world."

He appears to be pinning his hopes on Microsoft's primary partner in the platform, Nokia, who hasn't released a single Windows Phone handset yet, and will likely be concentrating on European markets initially.

He said of the partnership:

With Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner who is all in on Windows Phone. They're working with us in exactly the way we described, to try to get into new markets, find new price points, take a look at new hardware design. They're all in on Windows. They're not doing something with Android, or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Boom, our innovation interests are completely aligned.

But is that really true?

Nokia certainly wants to climb back to the top of the worldwide smartphone market, a position they lost to the dominance of the iPhone and Google's Android. Even if successful, that would have limited implications outside Europe.

Make no mistake, the European market represent a significant number of customers, and Nokia played a huge role in building that market. Prior to the introduction of the iPhone, Nokia's Symbian powered handsets accounted for nearly half of all smartphone sales worldwide.

Nokia's CEO, a former Microsoft executive, has made it clear his company's first goal is winning back those customer. What that likely means for Microsoft is playing catch up not just in Europe, North America, and other existing markets, but also emerging markets.

Meanwhile, Apple and various Android handset makers are already making big moves in China, which could prove to be the single most important market within the next few years.

As much as Nokia needs a new platform to reverse their fortunes in the smartphone market, it would seem Microsoft needs Nokia even more. If other vendors had truly bought into Windows Phone, it seems unlikely Microsoft would have made a deal with Nokia which reportedly cost them $1 billion.

There are already signs Samsung is thinking of abandoning the platform entirely.

Microsoft's tablet strategy probably isn't helping either. They don't see Windows Phone as an all encompassing mobile OS, preferring to bet on Windows 8 as a tablet platform.

That would seem to limit the interest among companies like Samsung and HTC who already have successful smartphone businesses and are already moving on to tablets. Why invest in a platform that promises not to further that goal?

When Windows Phone was announced last year, Microsoft was comparing their position to that of Apple in the desktop computer market of the 1990s.

The problem with this analogy is the Mac was the competitor for Windows. So far Windows Phone hasn't even managed to be a competitor.

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6 user comments

115.9.2011 11:58

Who strives to be #3 lol...I guess its a small victory if they can beat out RIM for the bronze medal but geez..

215.9.2011 12:25

IMO, WP7 will easily control 15-20 percent market share by 2015.

If that is good enough to beat RIM for third place more power to them. RIM has been putting in their best team effort to lose market share and customers for 3 years now lol

315.9.2011 13:14

At least its a realistic goal than saying we want to be #1. What really should be the focus tho is making the other 2 dwindle in #s so that it's a close race between the 3. That said, MS better have reliable handsets that can handle the windows platform they are preparing to bring out, and having it merge with Windows 8 and XBL is an interesting idea... But if done wrong it will severely bite them in the.

415.9.2011 14:12
Unverified new user

The Samsung dropping Windows Phone rumor is BS as pointed out by PCMag. They are launching several new phones and btw, go look at who is one of two marquee sponsors for //Build/


517.9.2011 10:04

How the mighty fall.

618.9.2011 01:21

Everyone knows M$ plays dirty.

I am privy to one specific instance of PDA market. When Compaq came out with their first version of "Tranflective" lcd in iPaq pda with a version of Win CE it was a grand success. Visibility of the colored screen in bright light or outdoors was a problem for ALL manufacturers. As a matter of fact it is still a problem for ALL mobile phones, even today.

In reality it was originally announced to be a Linux based pda. M$ forced them to switch to Win CE by threatening to change the pricing of the OS on their desktop PCs.

On top of that as an accommodation they stopped support on a CPU used by the then MOST popular Japanese PDA manufacturer. To top it all they required royalty payments for TOTAL number of PDAs manufactured by them regardless of OS / Language, with a guaranteed minimum payment per language which simply was exorbitant. The Japanese manufacturer simply dropped out of the PDA business.

Who is to say they will not use the same strategy on those who have a stake in Android + Win Smartphones as well as netbooks / laptops and desktop PCs ?

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