Microsoft's Ballmer dishes on Nokia deal and the future of PCs

'We have almost no share' in the smart phone market, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has acknowledged. 

Reuters
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gestures during his keynote address at the Microsoft 'Build' conference in San Francisco, California in this file photo from June 26, 2013.

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it would acquire cellphone maker Nokia – and the right to license its lucrative patents – in a deal worth an estimated $7.2 billion. The move was widely seen by analysts as a way for Microsoft, which has struggled to drum up interest in its Windows Phone mobile software, to better compete against rivals such as Apple and Android.

But in a meeting yesterday with financial analysts, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer acknowledged it would be an uphill battle. "We have almost no share" in the mobile phone market, he said, according to The Verge. (In the second quarter of 2013, 80 percent of all smart phone shipments were comprised of Android phones, Strategy Analytics recently reported. Apple's iOS was second with 14 percent; Windows Phone was third, with 4 percent.) 

Still, Mr. Ballmer, who has said he will soon retire from Microsoft, expressed some cautious optimism about the Nokia deal in a conversation with Tom Keene of Bloomberg TV. 

"Nokia counts for well over 80 percent of Windows Phone volumes today, so I think we are in a position to accelerate through this acquisition," he said. "Certainly acceleration in Windows Phone is only good for Windows PCs and tablets and our partners in the PCs and tablets business seem to be quite enthusiastic because what is good for phone should be good for tablets and PC." 

But let's go back for a second to the financial analyst meeting. Despite the growing popularity of tablets, in the meeting, Ballmer argued that PCs should and would remain popular for computer and business professionals. 

"We must do the job to ensure that the PC stays the device of choice for people when they're trying to be productive in life," he said, according to PC Pro. "It doesn't mean that people aren't going to buy some tablets to be productive, but if you look at the bulk of the tablet market today it's moving actually to smaller tablets."

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