Ballmer: Microsoft 'number five' in mobile market
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, has admitted that the technology giant is losing the battle in the smartphone space with its Windows Phone offering, saying its currently ranked fifth in the market.
Speaking at D8, a technology conference in Los Angeles, Ballmer, when asked about Microsoft and its mobile strategy, said: “We were ahead of this game and now we find ourselves number five in the market…We missed the whole cycle. I’ve been quite public about the fact that I’ve made some changes in leadership around our Windows Phone software.”
The change of leadership has come in the form of long term Microsoft employee, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft Entertainment and Devices division, retiring without a direct replacement.
This means that presently, Ballmer is personally in charge of the Windows Phone division.
When asked about filling Bach’s slot, Ballmer said: “We had a good long time employee who wanted to retire and he’s going to do so. And it doesn’t make sense to replace him.
Ballmer did not specify which mobile companies make up the top four – but he is likely to be referring to: Apple’s iPhone OS, Blackberry, Nokia’s Symbian platform and Google backed Android OS.
He also challenged Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, who spoke at the same conference earlier in the week, by saying “the race was on” in the tablet computer market.
Ballmer said that Microsoft’s Windows would be featured on a new range of tablet computers but denied Jobs’s claim that the PC is dead.
He said: “I think the PC as we know it will continue to morph in form factor. People are going to be using PCs in greater and greater numbers for years to come.
“Depending on what you’re trying to get done with the device at different times, there will be people who absolutely will want the comfortable and familiar look of Windows.”
Two weeks ago Apple officially overtook Microsoft in market value, becoming the world's biggest technology company. Apple's market value is now $222 billion, edging it ahead of Microsoft, worth $219 billion.
Apple has sold more than two million iPads in the last two months.