Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer at least recognized the iPhone exists in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Ballmer spoke with the Journal’s Nick Wingfield in a Boss Talk interview Thursday. Ballmer has been making the media rounds recently as part the recent launch of Windows 7.
When the iPhone was initially released, Ballmer was dismissive of the device’s possible impact on the market. Apparently he’s still not too impressed. “It’s another competitor in the market. The number one in smartphones is Nokia,” Ballmer said, noting the iPhone’s position in global market share.
Ballmer went on to trumpet the merits of Windows Mobile phones, which many believe has suffered a near-death blow in the face of poor reviews and the rising popularity of Google’s Android platform.
When asked about the Apple App Store, Ballmer gave the obligatory nod but continued his dismissive course. “It’s a good thing that they’ve done, let’s show respect where respect is due. Yet it’s not turning the market on fire,” he said.
Some might wonder what type of scenario Ballmer would consider “turning the market on fire.” In its earnings call on Monday, Apple announced more than 85,000 downloadable applications and over a half a billion downloads in the fourth quarter alone.
Ballmer has been infamously vocal about his misgivings regarding Microsoft’s handling of Windows Mobile, saying at one point that the company was falling significantly behind the iPhone and Google. At the firm’s recent Venture Capital Summit, an attendee sent a tweet claiming that Ballmer said the company had “screwed up with Windows Mobile.”