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Windows Phone has gone from "very small to very small"

Ballmer at WPC

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 12 Jul 2011 at 08:26

CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted Windows Phone hasn't seen phenomenal growth, as he revealed a "report card" on Microsoft's business.

Speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Ballmer discussed Microsoft's mobile strategy and gave details of sales of Windows, Office and more.

Windows Phone 7 launched last year, with phones released by several leading manufacturers, but a deal with Nokia has yet to deliver any handsets.

Phones, we've gone from very small to very small, but it's been a heck of a year

"Phones, we've gone from very small to very small, but it's been a heck of a year," Ballmer said. "And you're going to see a lot of progress in that market competitively as we move forward."

Ballmer said Microsoft sold "millions of phones" in the past year, and had seen 20,000 apps developed for its operating system. "It's certainly a very busy, active, competitive market. We've got a lot of work to do to break through."

He cited the deal with Nokia as proof that Windows Phone was a success. "Nokia, who had a choice this year to bet on themselves, to bet on Android, or to bet on Windows Phone said for their bet the company strategy, they're going with Windows Phone," he said.

"They saw our roadmaps. They saw what we've done. They saw what we're planning on doing. They're pushing us," he said. "They're pushing us to go broader geographically with Windows Phone. They're pushing us to hit new price points with Windows Phone. But, they believe."

Rest of Microsoft

Ballmer said Bing, Windows Server and Microsoft's cloud product Azure had all posted gains, while Windows and Office continued to see solid sales.

"Windows, we're selling a lot of Windows, and we've got a lot of competition in the Windows business," he added, saying 350 million PCs with the OS were sold in the past year. "That might compare with numbers from other guys that are in the 20 million range. Now, 20 is too much, but 350, last time I checked, is a lot more than 20."

He said Microsoft sold 100 million Office licences since the launch of 2010, and touted the success of newly arrived Office 365.

"In just two weeks, we've had over 50,000 businesses around the world trial Office 365, that's about one business every 25 seconds," he said.

"Office and Office 365, basically the other guys have yet to really show up," he added.

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User comments

I recommend Windows Phone 7

Even before the release of Mango (7.5) I still prefer Windows Phone 7 over both iOS and Android. I spent a long time deciding which OS to go with and although Windows Phone 7 is currently more limited until 7.5 it just felt much more intuitive and smoother to use.

By skarlock on 12 Jul 2011


I'm rocking a HD7 at this point in time and the company here has over 14 WP7 devices and for ONCE not one person has complained as it's silly easy to use. Sure, a couple have grumbled at the lack of ring tone facility but they know that that's on it's way.

If Windows 8 can really make the phone an integrated part of the operating system in some fashion (Other than sync this and that) then the marketing department might just be able to get off of it's lazy behind and really PUSH the entire platform forward.

By rhythm on 12 Jul 2011

I agree, but after testong Mango I'm a little dissapointed. It's great, dont get me wrong but theres no real "killer feature" I was just hoping for somethig more.

I was also hoping to see a new handset or two by now. The current ones were great in 2009 but are far behind Android in hardware now.

I'm looking forward to the new Nokia range and there are talks of a Samsung update too. Hopefully not to far away as they need to keep momentum.

By JStairmand on 12 Jul 2011


Platform integration is one of Microsofts worst areas.

The current home server app for WP7 feels really badly bolted on.

By JStairmand on 12 Jul 2011

@J Stairmand: The first Windows Phone 7 device wasn't launched in Europe until November 8th 2010. The primary reason you've not yet seen new devices is because to operate Windows Phone 7.0 it requires quite restrictive hardware specifications, hence all current WP7 phones being quite similar. With 7.5 the hardware restrictions will be greatly relaxed enabling a wider range of features, so until 7.5 there is little point in any new WP7 devices being launched.

By skarlock on 12 Jul 2011

I have it

And I am not happy with it. Sure it's not bad but there is no reason to switch from different platform. wp7 is simply to limited. very little aps , limited API and fact that MS apps are privileged compared to 3rd party apps make developers uniterested in this platform. if wanna pay $20 license fee for a phone that you use just for calling and emailing then fine but even bada looks better. Not to mention Android or iPhone

By I_own_wp7 on 12 Jul 2011

@ I_own_wp7

Yes the restricted API access is a issue with 7.0 but as you'll notice on most big app developer websites, all aspects of the API are available for third party apps with 7.5.

By skarlock on 12 Jul 2011

App Store

I first bought myself an iPhone about 2 years ago.

I was wavering between that and an Android phone and in the end what won it for me was the App Store and the number of apps available back then. Both platforms are very strong and have their advantages and disadvantages, but what swung it for me was the number of apps available.

BTW I'm a Windows user and have been for the past 20 years, so had no particular reason to go for Apple over Android. I did used to have a Windows Mobile about 5 years ago (anyone remember the HTC TyTN?) and whilst it was a good handset, I was forever rebooting it in order for it to work properly.

The new Windows Mobile platform looks good and I'm sure it will be snapped up by corporates. However I feel it's too little too late (sadly).

By mrmmm on 12 Jul 2011


Sure 7.5 will bring new APIs and features. but iOS and Android are not standing in one place neither. Google is investing in NFC and external devices , Apple in iCloud. While MS was writing copy/paste for 6 months. Mango is supposed to be released in September. Before manufacturers release new phones with it , before significant number of people will buy it (If people will buy it) it is going to be around a year. It's a lot of time for companies. That's why my drop the idea of developing for wp7 and we are concentrating on iPhone and Android

By I_own_wp7 on 12 Jul 2011

wp7 is awesome

WP7 is an awesome os, all it needs is the proper marketing and this phone will take off like magic, the os is simply better looking, sleeker , mordern looking os than Android and IOS, i was surprised at how smooth it was also to tell you the truth it makes ANDROID and IOS feel outdated, I BOUGHT THE DELL VENUE PRO VERSION OF WINDOWS PHONE 7, BEST PHONE PURCHASE I EVER MADE, cant wait for the mago update looks amazing.

By bxbbrian on 12 Jul 2011

Will I be able to upgrade to 7.5?

I'm considering getting an HTC 7 Pro (against a Desire Z) as I hate my iPhone and really miss a slide-out keyboard. I know the Android OS has its strengths and the range of apps is much better, but the price of the 7 Pro makes it a strong contender. Will I be able to upgrade the OS to 7.5 when it comes out or not (as was the case with Windows Mobile)?

By tolqua on 13 Jul 2011

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