As if things weren’t hotting up enough between Microsoft and Apple – with Microsoft announcing the launch of the Surface tablet – now the company behind Bing, MSN and Windows has well and truly declared war and might just be planning to take on the mobile giant with its very own Microsoft-made smartphone.
“We are trying to make it absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,” Ballmer said during an interview at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. “We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.”
In what Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer declared as Microsoft’s “most important year”, with the yet-to-be-released launch of its own tablet, the introduction of Windows 8 in late October and the extension of its cloud services portfolio with the acquisition of Yammer, as well as Amazon attempting to break into the smartphone market with its own device, it was only a matter of time before a smartphone was on the cards for Microsoft.
The Microsoft boss spoke about the advantages that Microsoft has over Apple – particularly in productivity, enterprise management and manageability – and stressed that Microsoft is not going to let any piece of that go unchallenged to Apple.
“Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch,” he said.
But when posed with the question of a potential Microsoft smartphone, Ballmer responded:
“Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That’s the focus. That’s our core. Look we’ll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia and HTC in the phone space. I love what we’ve got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.”
It seems that everyone these days is vying for a slice of the smartphone market and it’s no surprise; there has been a massive surge in smartphone ownership in the past year alone and in 2011 the global mobile ad market was valued at $5.3bn, according to the IAB and IHS Screen Digest.
Microsoft’s attempts at taking on the software side of the smartphone scene with its Windows operating system have not even come close to the success of iOS and Android, so is it really worth throwing another handset in the mix? It’s pretty clear that Samsung and Apple are leading the way in the smartphone manufacturing scene, so maybe Microsoft should stick to what it knows and does best... which, in my view, is computer software and Xbox Kinect.
Is this just another rumour? There’s only one thing we can do and that’s sit and wait...