back to article Ballmer: Windows Phone can win third place in mobile!

Sales of Microsoft's smartphone operating system are lagging and Redmond needs to step things up to win third place, Steve Ballmer has said. Yes, that's right: not first, or even second... Ballmer is aiming for third. Microsoft's chief executive broke the news of disappointing sales and his strike for the bronze medal during …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3rd place

    in the failure stakes, behind



    That's very ambitious of Microsoft, as I would put them last place behind those...

  2. wag

    Being "a third ecosystem" just means that there are two other ecosystems. It doesn't place them in order. It is not "a third-placed ecosystem". This is a complete non story.

    1. bolccg
      Thumb Up

      Completely agree

      Exactly what I thought. Nowhere does he suggest that Windows Phone will come last of the three or he is aiming for third or whatever. He just recognises that at present there are two dominant mobile phone platforms and he aims to put WinPho up as another one.

    2. Charles Manning

      If Ballmer thought they'd get to number one or two

      He would be making huge claims of dominance and doing the monkeyboy dance.

      Ballmer has always over-sold MS products. His muted response just shows he hopes for the bronze at best, but the realistic part of him probably expects another Zune.

  3. Simbu

    Err what?

    "In doing this, Microsoft can potentially have hardware makers like HTC end up selling Windows Phone in addition to Android."

    I've had an HTC Mozart sat on my desk for months!

    1. Martin Lyne

      My sympathies.

      Perhaps the emphasis was on "selling" as it "getting people to buy". You know. More. Compared to Android.

      Bit disappointed the article says Microsoft need to improve how they sell WinPho7. Improve how you MAKE it surely? After WinMo6.5 and Vista - I've learned my lesson. Diabolical.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Improve how you MAKE it surely?" Completely correct but Ballmer is a salesman and a thick one and that - it's the only job function he can grasp.

        1. Goat Jam

          Pirates Of Silicon Valley

          I loved the portrayal of Ballmer in that movie.

          Very much the clueless loud mouth buffoon that I imagine him as being.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      HTC (or Samsung) didn't have a choice.

      Make these, or be sued...

      That was the ultimatum

      DO you think either of their companies would bother making Windows Phone 7 that nobody wants, when they have industry leading Android devices flying off the shelves?

  4. Techs UK

    It'd help if phone salespeople knew anything about the phone

    went into a major phone reseller, and the Windows phone rep thought they had one in the back, but it wasn't setup. no posters, nothing on show. 2 were technically on sale according to their brochure, and they scored higher on stuff than many of the phones on show.

    I don't think British phone shops know anything about it - a lot of assumptions about it to break.

    Kids at school talk about iPhone being best or 'HTC' (they mean Android, but don't know it!)

    the message isn't getting through to kids or to the salepeople.

    anyone see a Windows Phone advert in the window of their local phone shop? didn't think so.

    such a shame

    1. Chad H.

      "Scored higher on stuff"?`

      Are you suggesting that having a WinMob phone will net you more "Stuff" when you try to "Score"?

    2. Paul Shirley

      What would (possibly) really help is if Microsoft or their small band of fanbois could explain what WP7 *does* better than the rest. Hell, if they took time to explain what it does at all it would be a step forward!

      M$ have tried desperately hard to create a buzz about the *brand* but never once condescended to explain the platform or devices. While I'm a great fan of style over content in film and TV, it doesn't work for tech, even Apple tell you it's a great phone, show you a great UI and the glamour is just the finisher. M$ show you a deadly dull UI and talk about everything but what the phones do.

      A mobile is a working tool, every buying decision starts with "does it *do* what I need" and finishes with "how cool is it", M$ failed at the 2nd part and don't even attempt the 1st. If the creator cant explain the product why expect minimum wage salestaff to understand it or bother selling it?

      [Arguably M$ had no choice before Mango, actually explaining what WP7 does is essentially describing how WP7 is inferior to every other smartphone OS unless you're buying a business phone and need strong Exchange support... and you probably want to go Blackberry for business use anyway!]

      1. Zippy the Pinhead

        @ Paul Shirley

        essentially describing how WP7 is inferior to every other smartphone OS unless you're buying a business phone and need strong Exchange support

        That's funny cause WP7 actually has weaker Remote Admin/Exchange support than 6.5 or 6.1. I know my corp refuses to allow WP7 on Exchange just for these reasons.

  5. fLaMePrOoF

    Oh how the mighty have fallen...

    1. stim


      hardly "the mighty" - when did WinMobile ever really have the lion's share of the market?

      Nokia have fallen, and iPhone & Android have risen.

      Things never stay still (apart from maybe Windows' crown on the desktop) and in the future the top dog in mobile will no-doubt change again.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Lord

    I used to have a manager who preached, "Runner up is the first loser!". I don't think he would have got on well with Ballmer and his current attitude!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To put it in perspective

    The volumes of sales will be:


    1. dogged

      oh look, it's Mystic Meg.

      People said that about the XBox.

      1. David 164

        Yep and world wide sales are looking like WII will be first, PS3 will be second and Xbox will be 3rd by the end of this generation, although to be fair to Microsoft it will be a close 3rd behind PS3. An they have caught up to Sony compare to where Sony once was.

        The next generation of consoles sale figures will be interesting.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Who cares about sales

        Some of the best selling products are shit. The Xbox360 for example.

        Microsoft can sell any old shit, because they have more money than God to spend on marketing it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think Android may be further out in front than that.

      1. Asgard

        Some Windows fans appear to be in denial

        Judging by the vote downs, there seems to be some Windows fans on here who are in denial of the fact Windows phone sales are in 3rd place and even Ballmer is admitting it.

        In fact if you wish to split Linux usage from Android usage, when working out the user base of each operating system (based on widely available sales data from multiple sources all saying the same thing), then within the next 2 years, Linux, Android & iPhone operating system usage are all set to have more users than Windows! So windows will be in 4th place as an OS and not just as a mobile phone OS, but also its desktop usage taken into account as well. For example,

        (1) Linux usage spans everything from hundreds of millions of embedded devices (including a lot of industrial embedded devices), to also being on the vast majority of servers.

        (2) Then we have the latest sales figures on Android which show it now has over 650000 new phone activations per day! and well over 150M Android phones are already in the market. Ballmer was only saying yesterday about how Windows could end up with 500 Million users. Well Android will hit 500 Million phones within around 540 days from now, even assuming no more increase in their rate of sales. Which is extremely unlikely considering Android activations were just 160k in Q2 2010 and now one year later, they are over 4 times as many sold per day, which is currently over 650k phones sold per day. So sales are speeding up a lot. Therefore even if Android sales can just rise to 1M activations per day, then Android will hit 500M phones within about one year from now.

        (3) Also iPhone is set to over take windows in OS usage figures as well. Its because a lot of phones (iPhone and Android) are sold. Far more than windows phones based on current sales figures. For example, in the case of iPhone based on current sales figures, if iPhone sales just double one more time (and they have doubled in sales each year for the past 2 years running) then even just one more doubling would mean iPhone would also hit 500M phones within the next 2.3 years, so probably given their current rates of accelerating sales, they also would hit 500M phones sold within less than 2 years.

        So within the next 2 years, Windows usage figures will mean it'll easily be in 3rd place and very arguably will be in 4th place! ... within just the next two years.

        What it means is the market place is changing very rapidly. The once perceived near omni-dominance of Windows is no more. Other operating systems are over taking it in their own markets. Windows still dominates in usage figures on specifically just home & office desktops (not servers) but that desktop market is becoming small compared to the amazing growth of all the other ARM dominated markets that are rapidly growing up around it. All sales data shows this is what is happening to the market.

        Is there anyone closed-minded enough to still be in denial about what is happening to the changing market?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Since when has Windows mobile ever had dominance in the market? Windows has never dominated the mobile market. You make a big post about the current mobile offerings and then compare it to the Windows desktop market, why? That's like me saying 'I sell shoes and I sell way more than HMV do' Surprise surprise there are more mobile phones than desktops worldwide. How many homes just have 1 pc - quite a lot. How many people have a mobile - nearly everyone meaning in one household alone there are more mobiles than desktops. I just don't get what point you are trying to make.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Pity about Symbian

    If it wasn't for Nokias stupidity Win mobile would be 4th

    1. Mr Floppy

      Pity about Maemo

      If it wasn't for Nokias stupidity Win mobile would be 5th

      1. MJI Silver badge


        I really like that phone as well

  9. Dave 15

    Elop and Nokia

    I am undecided about Elop...

    a) Was he a careful plant by Microsoft to devalue Nokia to the point it could be bought for 2'6d


    b) Was he chucked out of Microsoft for being useless and has just continued in the same vein in Nokia

    Difficult to decide. Either way he seems an error prone lunatic. Kill off the worlds best mobile OS because he can't see that what is really needed was a severe kick up the rump for the non-existant marketting team (come now - a blind guy photographing a roller coaster hardly stacks up against the continual barrage of iPhone adverts - especially those annoying ones that say 'you can only do xxxx with an iphone' that ignore totally the fact that S60 phones were doing the same thing at least a year or two earlier.

    Now he is going to sell fewer by restricting a consumers choice? Doh, its not like Nokia is an American company - because Americans don't like us Europeans at all they are really looking for an excuse not to buy a Nokia, Elop has handed them one on a plate.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Killing off Symbian

      Perhaps it should be Elop

      N8 here did have X6

      I rather liked my X6 as well

  10. Arctic fox

    Negotiating from a postion of weakness.

    "Nokia, meanwhile, is actually cutting off one it its routes to market. Chief executive Steven Elop, a former Microsoft executive, is reported to have decided Nokia phones in the US will only be available ready locked into carriers' networks and that unlocked phones that let you – the consumer – pick the network you want will no longer be sold."

    Translation: The only way the carriers will give Nokiasoft phones any decent exposure is if they are given exclusivity in the US. Currently both Nokia's situation and that of MS in relation to WP7 mean that they have little or no leverage in negotiation with the likes of AT&T, Verizon etc. Nokia has not cut anything off - it just currently has no bloody choice in realation to the US market. The US carriers, given the chance, will do anything they can get away with to ensure that customers do not get a chance to pick and choose. Nokia's current situation means that they can get away with it with regard to Nokia's phones.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Ye Gods and little fishes...

      Only locked phones in US?? IS ELOP MAD?? Nokia's struggling in the US, to say the least! "Oh, let's restrict our pathetic sales even more".

      If this is true, Elop should've stood on his 'burning platform' with a violin, and fiddled while Nokia turns to ashes.

      We hate that guy here in Finland. Can't believe he moved here. Never, in many discussions, have I heard a good word. I'm old, with a pension coming up, and I know I'm going to get a lot less when it comes into force.. So are a lot of others I know.

  11. Joe Montana


    Windows phone has a mountain to climb, like windows mobile before it but even worse...

    Windows is associated with crashing and viruses... It only sells in the desktop space because people don't see any alternative or are locked in and unable to make a choice anyway... In the mobile space it's a newcomer, and why would anyone want to saddle their phone with the same crap that makes computers such a hassle?

    And the desktop situation is reversed in mobile, both android and iOS have huge catalogs of applications, while windows phone has very few.

    They also have the legacy of windows mobile to deal with, people who gave it a shot despite the name got left with a sour taste in their mouth...

    Ask the average guy on the street if they'd want a windows phone and they'll say no and usually for the above reasons.

    Had they branded it something different they might be in with a shot, look at the xbox... no windows branding, reasonable sales... Would it have sold at all if it was branded "windows game" or something? Probably not, people want consoles that just work, and windows has a reputation for not working and generally being a hassle.

    1. JuniorEbuka
      Thumb Up

      Bang on...

      As ever, it's all in the branding.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. tmTM

      Don't forget

      Windows phone 7 follows hot on the heels of windows phone 6.5, which was complete rubbish.

      So they have to build the customer base from scratch again because no-one using the old system will bother staying for more.

    5. El Andy

      "Windows is associated with crashing and viruses..."

      Thankfully Google is trying hard to take over this mantle and are well on the way to associating Android with crashing and viruses instead.

  12. Dave 15

    re It'd help if phone salespeople knew anything about the phone

    This is true... but then the Brits are famous for employing underpaid, undereducated, lazy and ineffectual sales staff.

    It 'saves money' if you have a bunch of 16 year olds wandering aimlessly around spouting bull or ignoring customers.

    1. hplasm


      Nobody cares...

    2. 5.antiago
      Thumb Up


      "The Brits are famous for employing underpaid, undereducated, lazy and ineffectual sales staff"

      Britain is a well-known country, true, but I always thought it was because at one time we owned the largest empire in history. But now I know the real reason. Thanks!

      1. teknopaul

        used to be number one

        better than aiming for third I suppose.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optional title omitted (oh damn)

    All this ratings/placings of products reminds me of an old, sort of, joke (and I may have got bits of it wrong). No offence to either country or it's citizens - you have to have disclaimers on everything these days, pah!

    The Americans and Russians decided to have a car race and of course the Americans won the race, so they reported in the papers that they had defeated the Russians. The Russians reported that the glorious motherland won the race against the Americans because they came second, but the Americans were next to last.

    Well something like that... it's been a long week.

  14. Simon Rockman

    Understanding the world market

    The great thing about having a Canadian in charge of Nokia is that he understands the US and the rest of the world.

    This is very unusual in mobile phone executives.

    Only selling locked phones in the US will not show as a dent in sales. I bet they sell so few the infrastructure and stocking cost far exceeds the margin. The US doesn't do unlocked phones, it's not even possible on the CDMA networks.

    The Rest of The World thing is important because he understands the value of distribution. Nokia has significantly the best reach in the world.

    Third place is aiming low. First place should be possible.

    1. Johnny Tremaine

      Nokia will have better luck outside of the States.

      In the U.S., the 'Nokia' brand has zero traction; the last time they were relevant there was around a decade or more ago.

      Adding to the platform's existing branding problem, anything in carrier phone stores saddled with both 'Windows Phone' AND 'Nokia', will generally be ignored by both consumers and sales clerks.

  15. PhilipN Silver badge

    Shot in the arm or in the head

    Can someone please explain why in mid-September 2011 we have not yet seen a Nokia Winphone?

    Has Ballmer just managed to write off Nokia?

    Surely one of the biggest cock- ups in corporate history.

    I say this in the context of the depressing scenes inside the Nokia shop near my office. Used to be all hustle and bustle less than a year ago.

    1. 5.antiago


      Because the first one needs to be done perfectly otherwise it really will be one of the biggest cock-ups in corporate history, as opposed to merely being a cock-up in your own head. Also, nothing was promised until at least Q4, and September is in Q3

    2. Goat Jam

      How Long Exactly

      . . . do you think it takes to design an entirely new phone from the ground up?

      Every pundit I've read has stated all along that there was no chance in hell that Nokia would get a WinPhone out the door before 2012,.

      1. Charles Manning

        Nobody (except Apple and maybe Nokia) design phones from the ground up.

        These days almost all the low-level design and OS integration is done by the chipset vendors (Qualcom et al). To get people to use their chips, the chipset vendors supply reference designs using their chips. These are fully functional phones but just laid out in road-kill format. Dressing up the reference design software is typically not much more than a skinning exercise.

        As for an OS change, that's not such a big deal. The electronics are no different. Branding etc might need new plastics and the there is need for the marketing people to plan an ad campaign.

  16. JDX Gold badge

    re:Oh how the mighty have fallen...

    You mean from when they were a leading power in phones? That was never.

    Or do you mean from being the giant majority for home PCS? That is still the case.

  17. Sam Liddicott
    Thumb Down

    serves them right

    Because they have fingers in so many markets, they spoil each new market by trying to tie it to the old market.

    Active-sync would sync OE bookmarks, music, other files and everything in Outlook. But ONLY outlook. Because they wanted to promote Outlook and office.

    What they really did was cripple the take-up of active sync and simultaneously the usability of their phones.

    Where was the Thunderbird, Firefox or Sunbird sync? Where was the opera and Lotus Notes sync? No-where, so that's where their phone is now.

    Their marketing strategy REDUCED the phone features for everyone who didn't have windows+office.

    It was deliberate strategy, and it hurt them. The lesson - stop trying to control people and make them GLAD to give you money don't try to make then HAVE TO give you money.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Having a read

      Definately tied to everything Microsoft

      Search uses their toy train search site - no choice of Gooogle or Yahoo.

      Integrated into Xbox live only - none of the other gaming systems (Steam PSN ect)

      No idea what a Zune is.

      As to not syncing with common browsers ect - not very good.

      Next contract renewal we have all said Android (after 4 or more Nokia phones).

  18. Shonko Kid

    "Nokia, who'll ship nothing but Windows Phone 7 on its phones"

    'Nokia, who'll ship nothing.' is probably closer to the truth.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have to admire Ballmer for one thing

    His unbridled optimism in thinking WP7 can make it to third place.

    At some point the handset manufacturers and network operators are going to get tired of p*ss*ng money down the WP7 hole and give up on the platform.

    By then Microsoft's grand plan to turn itself into Apple may start working and they can buy the smoking remains of Nokia for nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That and his ability to survive

      Every day that goes by and the question 'why is Steve Ballmer still in charge of Microsoft?' goes unanswered. He's unconvincing as a tech guru, a lousy salesman for the good stuff Microsoft does produce and the company appears to be stagnant.

      Time to put a visionary in the public light over at Redmond and get people excited about the very cool stuff Microsoft is developing in its labs.

      1. Johnny Tremaine

        I agree with this. They do need more of a tech visionary at the top spot in the company. Putting the head sales guy in charge, an MBA, was never the best idea.

  20. Trygve

    So was Ballmer misquoted or is he really unable to communicate?

    "I won't say I'm not saying I love where we are, but I'm very optimistic to where I think we can be,"

    Wow, inspirational stuff...

  21. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    If Microsoft had a product, who would make an effort to sell it?

    For desktop PC's, Microsoft makes third rate software, but they control the distribution channel. Who in the mobile phone business wants that sort of relationship with Microsoft?

  22. Anonymous Cowherder

    Aim low and fail to meet it.

    The microsoft way!

  23. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    4th place

    and just behind MS will be the phone with a dial

  24. Jess


    Have BlackBerry disappeared or something?

    1. cloudgazer

      Elop is going there next.

      Holmes, because it's elementary.

  25. Tegne

    I hope that there's some contingency plan at Nokia

    Otherwise they risk being consigned to the pile marked 'Betamax etc...'

    1. Paul Shirley

      Of course there's a contingency plan: Elop goes back to his job at Microsoft.

      ...some would say he never left it...

    2. MJI Silver badge

      At least I could still use Betamax

      Was using a Sanyo BetaHiFi until I got my first Freeview PVR.

      Tough as old boots and so much better picture quality.

  26. xperroni
    Thumb Down

    "third ecosystem"?

    More like turd ecosystem, really.

  27. willyampz

    Doesn't bode well for win 8 arm tablets (er fondleslabs, as you brits seem to know them). If android could get where there are now, but barely a blip for winpho7, they are in trouble. I know the tablets will be positioned simply like PCs with their keyboards broken off. If you go to walmart for example, one whole aisle is lined with about 25 laptops, all windows based of course. In the phone aisle, I don't think there is one winpho. Obviously they can't count on brand loyalty, unlike apple. This just shows that the "popularity" of windows based PCs is simply because of legacy lock-in.

  28. Zippy the Pinhead

    being 3rd

    MS will probably reach 3rd place in the smartphone world when all the other smartphones are either Android or iOS.. but at least they'll be in 3rd! lol

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking forward to...

    LoL @ the guy with the BSOD phone.

  30. Lars Silver badge


    Same questions.

    Has Elop succeeded or failed, we do not know as we do not know what he was set (or sent) to do.

    Of course Nokias problems started several years before Elop.

    And it is of course unfair to assume that things cannot turn to the better.

    What would interest me just now, when the N9 starts to ship, is, if Elop is happier if the N9 is a flop or a success.

    And this sentence "Nokia, who'll ship nothing but Windows Phone 7 on its phones" was that bye Ballmer or bye Gavin Clarke

    Anybody ever heard Elop speak of the N9 Meego phone?.

  31. ideapete

    Dumb and Dumber

    Google creates an Android smartphone

    Apple creates a smart device series Phone / Pad

    Microsoft creates a dumber than dumb phone

    Go for the tin cans and sting Redmond it will work better

  32. Teddy the Bear

    Right - Enough flannel - facts here:

    Right, some things to point out:

    1) WM6.5 was not "rubbish" - it just aged badly. It worked fine, and is still used in enterprises widely today. It was less user friendly than iOS.

    2)WP7 is a brilliant phone OS, possibly a contender for the best. It works as fluidly as iOS on an iPhone 4, is more intuitive to use, and has proper facebook integration at the OS level. There are useful things missing at present, but Mango update will add many of these.

    3)Nokia is NOT scrapping symbian (yet). WP7 will be for high-spec handsets, and symbian will continue on mid- and low-spec handsets.

    I work for the UK's largest mobile phone company and have regular meetings with senior reps from WP7, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson etc. I've had these discussions with those people myself.

  33. The Alpha Klutz

    """"I won't say I'm not saying I love where we are, but I'm very optimistic to where I think we can be," Ballmer said. "I think with a little bit more effort, a little bit more energy, the level of enthusiasm from the customer base is high enough we've just got to kick this thing to the next level. And I think we're in absolute good shape in order to be a very strong third ecosystem in the smart phone world.""""

    The last time I heard incoherent ramblings this bad, they were coming from Charlie Sheen.

  34. Andus McCoatover

    In fairness..

    Talked to a friend of mine (yes, I have a couple). His wife works for a Nokia outsourcing outfit, and was given the opportunity to try the beta Win-7 mobo.

    She thought it was fuc*king excellent.

    So, maybe Elop/Wallop/whatever may have a clue, after all..(But as he's Canadian, and his kids are probably called Terence and Philip, and wish they could school at 'South Park Elementary', I wouldn't bank on it...)

  35. Wallyb132

    Has anyone ever used a wp7 device?

    I have, and i want to say that its the worst device i've ever used. After using this phone for the past 3 weeks, I think my IQ has dropped, i actually feel dumber for using this device.

    I was an absolute windows mobile fan, yes i know the platform had its issues, but i could find software to do just anything and i could do anything i wanted on it, it was a truly open platform.

    then microsoft went and hit the stupid button (again?) and killed windows mobile. replacing windows mobile with wp7 just shows how retarded microsoft really is.

    just to clarify, I didnt purchase the POS wp7 device i'm stuck using, T-Mobile replaced my touch pro 2 with this HD7 on a warranty exchange, and for that i say ,,!,, t-mobile. I have ordered an andriod phone.

    So for microsoft and t-mobile ,,!,, you're about as dumb as a bag of hammers and you have no clue what consumers want!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      To be fair, I think they don't care what you want...

      Most people don't/didn't want winmo either. Most people are not techies.

      Hell talking about dumbed down devices, it works brilliantly for Apple! But there is easy to use, and there is dumbed/locked down, and yet to see anyone give the former without doing the latter. That would really win me over.

      I wonder if the world's IQ is dropping?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like