Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has shared his thoughts on the software giant's competitors, with the executive labeling Apple products too expensive and Google's Android too wild due to its openness.
Speaking with LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman at a Churchill Club event, Steve Ballmer commented on Microsoft's competitors in the mobile market. "The ecosystem of Android is a little wild," he stated, referring to malware and compatibility issues deriving from several versions of Android. "Conversely, Apple's system looks highly controlled and quite high prices," he added, noting the $1,000 cost of an iPhone in Russia. "How do you get quality not at a premium price with not quite as controlled an ecosystem."
"The best of both worlds is available to us," he stressed. Ballmer explained that phone operators around the globe want three vendors, not two. "On the high end, they have Apple and Samsung and a sea at the low-end. We have a customer set that wants an alternative, and it's a different opportunity strategically...the product has to be great. Windows 8 is the most personal smart phone. When you whip out your phone, you want to see the things that matter to you."
Ballmer, however, acknowledged that it's still an early stage: "If anyone thinks hardware innovation in pocket devices is ending, they are nuts." According to analyst firm Gartner, Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system attributes to only 2.4 percent of the smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012's third quarter.
That said, Ballmer doesn't expect Microsoft's mobile operating system to become an instant success. "There is unmet need from operators and, from a consumer perspective, a lot of room for innovation. The challenge is to get 10 percent of the smartphone market, and then 15 percent, and then 20 percent. We aren't trying to get to 60 percent overnight."