Ballmer on the Windows ecosystem: “The best of both worlds is available to us”

Steve Ballmer had a lot to say yesterday when talking with Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman at a Churchill Club event. Topics of conversation were subtly steered towards Steve Sinofsky leaving the company, but when asked how he thought Microsoft were doing in the mobile space, Ballmer used the opportunity to highlight how Microsoft’s ecosystem differs from its competitors.

The ecosystem of Android is a little wild.

Ballmer highlighted compatibility and malware issues and the fragmentation issues surrounding the hundreds of different Android handsets on the market from OEMs like Samsung and HTC, as well as Google and Amazon. He didn’t stop there either, moving onto Apple:

Conversely, Apple's system looks highly controlled and [has] quite high prices. How do you get quality not at a premium price with not quite as controlled an ecosystem.

Identifying the $1,000 cost of an iPhone in Russia as one of the reasons Microsoft are providing a better option for consumers, he pointed out that the carriers around the world who are purchasing the phone hardware really want three vendors in the space.

The best of both worlds is available to us. On the high end, [the carriers] have Apple and Samsung and a sea at the low-end. We have a customer set that wants an alternative, and it's a different opportunity strategically; the product has to be great. Windows Phone 8 is the most personal smart phone. When you whip out your phone, you want to see the things that matter to you.

Although he was quick to point out that it’s very early in the game for Microsoft, where they and Windows Phone 8 are playing a big game of catch-up to compete at the same level as Android or Apple.

If anyone thinks hardware innovation in pocket devices is ending, they are nuts! There is unmet need from operators and, from a consumer perspective, a lot of room for innovation. The challenge is to get 10 percent of the smartphone market, and then 15 percent, and then 20 percent. We aren't trying to get to 60 percent overnight.

According to Gartner, Windows Phone commands just 2.4% of the worldwide smartphone market share as of the third quarter in 2012.

Source: news.cnet.com | Image courtesy of VentureBeat

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