During the annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked to compare the appeal of a phone powered by Windows Phone to one with Google's Android OS installed. Naturally Ballmer removed the gloves and used his fists of steel against the rival operating system, indicating that users need to be a computer scientist to navigate through its interface and sea of icons.
"You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows phone and you do to use and Android phone," he said. "It is hard for me to be excited about the Android phones."
Recent numbers seemingly disagree. In August, around 43-percent of smartphone owners actually owned an Android device. During a three month period prior to that, 56-percent of smartphone buyers chose an Android device followed by 28-percent that chose Apple's iPhone. Trailing behind Google and Apple was RIM's BlackBerry with a 9-percent share. Microsoft's Windows Phone and other mobile operating systems fell within the "Other" 6-percent chasm.
Does that mean 48-percent of smartphone owners are computer scientists, or is Microsoft's Windows Phone geared towards the simple-minded? To Ballmer's defense, Android is installed on a huge number of smartphones whereas Windows Phone is currently limited to ten devices. Still, Apple has managed to retain second place with just two or three active models on the market.
Following his comment about Android, Ballmer said that Apple is a good competitor, but a different one, praising the company's latest innovation, Siri. But he also said that Windows Phone devices are better because they put the user's need right on the device's front page.
"Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically," he said. "But when you grab a Windows phone and use it… your information is front and center… and you don’t have to scroll through seas of icons and blah blah blah."
"A Windows phone gets things done," he added.
Ballmer also admitted that Windows Phone needed to compete better on price with Android handsets and start supporting cheaper models. He also said that Microsoft has no plans to produce its own smartphone to go head to head with Apple, but will instead remain focused on "enabling hardware innovation."