Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the Web 2.0 Summit to discuss Windows Phone, the cloud, Google competition and Bing.
Steve Ballmer used a talk at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco to make the
case for Bing and Windows Phone, two company platforms struggling to carve out
some market share against Google.
In the case of
Bing, Ballmer painted the search engine's progress over the past few years in a
positive light, highlighting its increased market share and partnerships with
companies such as Facebook and Yahoo.
progress was good "not just for share but for having enough data to continue to
improve the product," he said, according to a video
of the talk posted on YouTube, "to make search more than just 10 blue links."
He sidestepped a moderator question about whether Microsoft would create its
own social platform along the lines of Google Plus, noting instead: "We're
adding what we would call connectivity to our products."
insisted that Microsoft was making more progress against Google in terms of
cloud-productivity applications. Indeed, over the past year or so, Redmond has
pushed aggressively into the cloud space with platforms such as Office 365,
with the aim of locking businesses onto a subscription-based model. "Our ramp rate
of sold seats, it's got a nice trajectory," he said, "We've got a highly
functional product that's highly available."
When it came
to Windows Phone, however, Ballmer shifted to the standard Microsoft line with
regard to its newish smartphone platform: We have a good product; it's capable
of battling toe-to-toe against any other platform on the market, but maybe the
sales don't quite bear that out yet, okay?
compared Windows Phone with Apple's iPhone: "You're going to have two phones
sitting there; they're going to feel good in your hand." But he suggested that
Windows Phone's interface, based on a system of highly customizable tiles,
would beat out the Apple iPhone's grids of individual applications. Windows
Phone is "not seas of icons" he said, but puts "information
more ire for Google's smartphone offering. "It is very hard to be excited, for
me, about the Android phones," he said, which is exactly what you'd expect from
the CEO of Microsoft.
hopes its new Windows Phone Mango update, which offers some 500 tweaks and new
features, will give the platform the momentum it needs to combat both Apple's
iOS and Google Android, which reign as the twin titans of the mobility market.
Although Microsoft has poured millions of marketing dollars into its Windows
Phone effort, and done its best to highlight the product as an important part
of its overall ecosystem, the company's smartphone share has continued to dip
in recent quarters.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.