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Ballmer: iPhone has "momentum," Zune not the future

updated 04:05 pm EST, Fri January 9, 2009

Ballmer on iPhone and Zune

Relatively new competitors now have the advantage in the smartphone business, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer said late yesterday to the Financial Times (registration required). Although the executive was well-known for believing in early 2007 that the iPhone wouldn't get market share, he now says that both Apple and BlackBerry creator RIM have "clear market momentum" and that the two are part of an industry likely to survive the poor world economy.

During Microsoft's CES keynote speech, Ballmer was nonetheless confident of Windows Mobile and observed that about 20 million devices using the operating system have sold in the past 12 months, 11 of which sold over a million each. The HTC Touch Diamond is one of these and is known to have managed at least 3 million units in the second half of the year.

The early Microsoft official is nonetheless less confident about the Zune and deemphasizes the importance of the music player hardware and insisting that the industry push is now towards software. Ballmer sees media-only devices like the Zune gradually being phased out and that more generalized hardware like smartphones will dominate the field.

He also supports the formal Microsoft position that there will be no Zune phone and that the brand is most likely to survive as a feature of Windows Mobile rather than in Microsoft-desgned hardware.

By Electronista Staff


  1. brainiac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2003


    Thank you Captain Obvious

    The best way to predict the future is to wait until it happens.

    Does this now support everyone else's perspective that the Zune is pointless?

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Always Off?

    Has Balmer always been off the mark with his predictions or this a recent phenomenon? If he's just the worst seer ever, then how do you shift through all the BS that comes out of his mouth?

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    He gets his info from Rob Enderle

  1. SlimGem

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008



    Oh my! I did NOT see that coming!

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    Way to go out on a limb there Ballmer: "devices like the Zune gradually being phased out and that more generalized hardware like smartphones will dominate the field."
    I could be blind and see this one coming.

  1. bloggerblog

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007



    Ballmer should be captured and returned to his natural habitat so he can live among his own species.

  1. gambit-7

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2001


    FOS, as usual

    "devices like the Zune gradually being phased out and that more generalized hardware like smartphones will dominate the field."

    I don't know; iPods are still selling like hot-cakes. Maybe MS should make a good product that doesn't reek of "me too!"

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Wasn't he right?

    "But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get." - was the original quote.

    On October 21, 2008 Apple announced sales of 6.89 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2008, totaling 13 million iPhones to date. - from Wikipedia. 13 million is 1% of 1.3 billion.

  1. resuna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005


    Plays for Sure?

    Are they going to pull another 180 on whether "Plays for Sure" will play for sure, for sure?

  1. wymer100

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2003



    The problem was that MS got into the market too late to differentiate itself. The ipod/mp3 market is mature. The areas for innovation are really in the ipod touch/iphone space. There really isn't much more to do with the mp3 player space other than increase capacity or decrease price.

    Once again, MS doesn't know how to be the leader in an area that doesn't exploit it's near monopoly with Windows. As a mac fan, I'd love to see Ballmer stay so MS will continue to flounder.

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