We all know that Windows Phone has hit some stumbling blocks in its first year of release, so it's no surprise that Microsoft would be disappointed with how it's gone so far. Still, when Steve Ballmer says it, it's a little unnerving. “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year,” he stated at yesterday's financial analyst meeting.
The good news is that he followed up with some words of optimism:
“I’m not saying I love where we are but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” Ballmer said. “We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level.”
And it wasn't just canned words trying to raise spirits, but words with reasoning behind them. While acknowledging the lackluster sales of WP7, he also noted that Microsoft had created “a very strong third ecosystem” behind Android and Apple. He also noted that the partnership with Nokia would be a boost to the brand because they are a "dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones," and thus will help make the push, unlike other manufacturers who have the hands in multiple operating systems. Nokia is set to deliver their first Windows handsets as early as Q4 of this year, but certainly in Q1 of 2012.
Another reason Ballmer should be optimistic about the future of WP7 is Mango. We have seen that it has already started creeping out in some places, and the prospects of future devices and upgrades look very promising. Add to all this what is coming with Windows 8, XBox and Windows Phone coming together in unison, and you have what looks like a pretty nice road ahead. Sure, maybe we hoped for a little more from WP7 in year one, but with what lies ahead, how could you blame Ballmer for getting excited?