Microsoft CEO talks Windows MobileFrom CTIA 07 in San Francisco: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks with CNET News.com's Ina Fried about the importance of Windows Mobile and how he sees it evolving.
^M00:00:01 [ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> You mention that for many people in many parts of the world they're first computing experience is gonna be a phone. That seems like it would have some pretty broad implications from Microsoft. What does that mean for the company? >> You know I think in most parts of the world people aspire to have a phone, a PC and people aspire to the affluence and yet if you look at the merging middle class, the bottom of the merging middle class in places like China, the 800th million riches person in the country, you're gonna find somebody who might have 100 dollars, 50 or 100 dollars they'll be able to scrap together for capital expense. And we're gonna want to work on experiences that essentially--it may not be a PC but it will allow a phone to dock and become part of kind of the way people think about PC infrastructure in addition to communications infrastructure. >> Does that have pretty broad implications not just obviously on the software you guys create for the device but in terms of services? >> Sure. Sure, absolutely it does and when there's something concrete to announce, we'll announce it but the concept is a very important one to us. >> You talk today about Apple not being an enterprise company and IBM not being a consumer company. >> I think that's the history. Anybody can become anything they want to be but I'd say that accurately reflects the history. >> Some might say that there's some wisdom to that; that it's hard to do both. Why is it important for Microsoft to try and do both? >> I think what most consumers want, what most end users want actually is things that do help them bridge the gap. I don't really think most people want to live in a world where there's parallel kind of universes; my universe at home; my universe at work. It's simpler if I can learn one thing, if I can apply it in many ways, I actually think that's a feature, an advantage, and certainly you see it in the PC. Windows PCs are quite popular compared to anything else precisely because they do span the kind of work/home gap. >> And you mentioned it's not necessarily a good thing that people are carrying around multiple phones just because one does one thing while one does something else. What do you think Microsoft and the industry have to do to sort of eliminate that need, particularly what does Microsoft have to do? >> We have to work on software that can kind of support the experiences that are important in both places, we've got to have distribution, sales models that let consumers pick somehow what they want or at least have enterprises give them some range of choice the way people do on PCs participate in enterprise infrastructure yet also be able to store and keep people's personal information; I think that's a key part of it. We may wind up in a world where a number of people carry two devices if they want to or their businesses want them to which is fine also. We just want to bring these things more into alignment and give users to the degree that we can an endless experience. >> Is it fair to say you guys are further ahead on the business piece of that than on the consumers? >> In the mobile area there's no doubt we started first by focusing in on productivity in the enterprise space and we've moved now to kind of enterprise devices also having a sort of a consumer side to them with the HTC Touch device, this one you start to get something that's more purely a consumer-type device and we're putting more and more emphasis on the kind of entertainment style application and services. >> Do you see a need for Microsoft to have a more purely consumer phone? >> Would I expect us to have enterprise and consumer phones whose primary characteristics in some cases of productivity and some cases entertainment, yeah, might expect us to have Windows mobile and devices that had all four of those sorts of personalities. >> Is it a consumer side of something where you'll just see the Windows mobile brand kind of evolve into it or do you think that's something we might see from the Zune side of the house? >> Well I think you ought to think about Windows mobile as the direction we're headed in terms of these phones. >> One of the distinguished engineers on the Windows team recently talked about this MinWin project, the idea that the Windows core could be much smaller. I'm curious do you see a need for full Windows running on smaller devices and is that something that could help? >> I think it's not a bad thing. We've got a great platform for mobile phones today in Windows CE and Windows mobile and we're gonna continue to push it hard.