Windows Phone still 'very small', admits Microsoft boss Ballmer

Microsoft admits it's microscopic when it comes to mobile phones. Big boss Steve Ballmer has conceded that Windows Phone 7 is still small fry next to rivals including the iPhone or Android phones.

Microsoft admits it's microscopic when it comes to mobile phones. Big boss Steve Ballmer has conceded that Windows Phone 7 is still small fry next to rivals including the iPhone or Android phones.

Ballmer told assembled partner companies at a Microsoft conference that "in a year, we've gone from very small to ... very small".

But Ballmer insists it's not size that's important -- it's what you do with it. He reckons "nine out of 10 people who bought a Windows Phone would absolutely recommend it to a friend". We don't buy that for a second -- there's no way 10 people have bought one. LOL.

What Microsoft could do with is a killer phone. Ballmer maintains "people in the phone business believe in us", but customers don't buy an operating system, they buy a phone -- Android has exploded thanks to fantastic phones from the HTC Hero to the HTC Sensation . Samsung, HTC, and LG all make phones that use Windows Phone but the likes of the Samsung Omnia 7 or HTC HD7 haven't set the world alight yet.

That could change though, when Nokia unveils its first Windows Phone. We've had a glimpse of the Sea Ray prototype, apparently closely related to the Nokia N9 , and the real thing could arrive sometime before the end of the year.

Another expected boost is Mango . The sweet-tasting forthcoming update to the Windows Phone software will bring multitasking, deeper Xbox Live integration, and beefed-up Bing and Internet Explorer.

Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE have also signed up to make Windows Phones. They're expected this summer.

Even if Windows Phone is still very small, Microsoft has plenty of other ways of earning money: like Android phones , for example, which earn Microsoft more money than Windows Phones thanks to a patent deal. The company is also in the process of buying Skype . And Windows 8 is on the way, which Ballmer says will break Microsoft into the tablet race against the all-conquering iPad -- but he's been saying that for ages, and you lot still aren't convinced .

But is Windows Phone's very small share of the smart phone market good enough for a company the size of Microsoft? Tell us your thoughts -- big or small -- in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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