Ballmer bullish on Windows Phone 7

Microsoft’s head honcho CEO Steve Ballmer has told the Wall Street Journal that he expects big things from Windows Phone 7 (WP7), but he’s not predicting that the smartphone will take over from the PC.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Ballmer explained why they didn’t produce their own WP7 handset, and who they’re partnering with – HTC, Samsung, LG and “a variety of partners”, and most interestingly why they’re getting into mobile, it’s money in case you hadn’t of guessed already.

According to Ballmer “I see it (Mobile) as a big opportunity. There’s the sale of the device, there’s potential for search revenue on top of that and commerce revenue. There’s potential for subscription revenue from various entertainment or productivity experiences.” Adding, “Job One here will be selling a lot of phones, and if we sell a lot of phones, good things are going to happen.”

They also asked how Microsoft were going to make up for all of the lost time over the last few years and unfortunately Ballmer wasn’t very convincing on their strategy for market domination, explaining that the market was “probably still pretty dynamic” eg Apple and Android could go down as quickly as they came up, which to us seems highly unlikely.

Ballmer sees the new interface as one of the key differentiators explaining that “I think the wall-of-icons [on iPhones and Android devices] is getting pretty complicated for people.” Adding “Putting the activities that are most important in people’s lives and the people that are most important in people’s lives front-and-center through these hubs, I think we’re going to capture hopefully the imagination of quite a good number of people.”

Lastly they asked if mobile would replace Windows on PCs, and Ballmer supplied the obvious answer – to everyone apart from the WSJ – “Do I think the world’s going to live all on small-screen devices? No. I think people are going to have small-, medium-, and large-screen devices.”

As Ballmer points out, 350 million PCs were sold this year, and smartphones might be—what?—a little less than half of that. So smartphones are very important, so are PCs. Unfortunately he studiously ignores the other 1 billion phones that may not be smartphones but they definitely have smart capabilities.