Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has assured partners that its foray into mobile phones will be a slow-burn success.
Speaking at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles, a typically bullish Ballmer (pictured) said the firm had performed very well against its competitors this year, but has some ground to make up in the mobile phone market.
"Bing is up in market share, Windows Server has 76 per cent market share [and] with Office 365, basically the other guys are yet to really show up.
"We are selling a lot of Windows and we have a lot of competition, but we are driving hard and in the past year 350 million PCs have been sold."
Moving on to the company's mobile phone sales, Ballmer joked that the company's share of the market has gone from "very small to very small" this year, but stressed that it was still early days for its devices.
"A year ago, Microsoft had no Windows phone. In the past year, we have sold millions of phones and when we survey our users, nine out of 10 of them would recommend them to a friend," he said.
"It is certainly a very busy, active and competitive market, and we have a lot of work to do to break through and yet the people in the phone business believe in us."
On this point, Ballmer cited the work Microsoft is doing with phone manufacturer Nokia, and said the mobile phone manufacturer would not have backed the software giant's mobile strategy if it did not think it would yield results.
"Nokia had a choice this year to bet on themselves, on Android or on the Windows phone, and said they are going with the Windows phone," he said. "They saw the road maps, they saw what we had done and what we are planning on doing and they are pushing us to go broader geographically with Windows phone and to hit new price points because they believe in us."
He said the firm's plans had also won the backing of analysts IDC and Gartner. "They both said Windows phone will be the number-two phone in the market by 2015," he said.
"We know we have a lot to do, but – like the cloud – we are all in when it comes to mobile devices."
Speaking to ChannelWeb, Janet Gibbons, director of partner strategy and programmes at Microsoft, said the design of the Windows phone user interface is similar to the look and feel of its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system.
"Looking at where Windows 8 is going, you can see how it [the Windows phone] will take off, because people want to see a seamless integration between the operating system they have on their phone and their PCs," explained Gibbons.
"This is an advantage some of our competitors have, but we have something great coming that will really take that head-on."
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