Well, you've got to give Steve Ballmer credit: he's nothing if not a straight shooter.
The Microsoft boss has come out and openly admitted sales of Windows Phone 7 handsets haven't exactly set the world on fire, but as you'd expect he's optimistic things will turn around – just as soon as they “kick this thing to the next level”.
Speaking at Microsoft's financial analyst meeting, Ballmer admitted: “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year.”
Ballmer believes improvements to the browsing experience, plus the addition of DirectX compatibility to WinPho phones, has kept things ticking over to some extent despite the fact that the platform has effectively stagnated in the build-up to Windows Phone 7.5 Mango's long-awaited arrival.
“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.”
He nonetheless insisted that Windows Phone 7 was now “a very strong third ecosystem” behind Android and iOS, and promised the best is yet to come once the first Nokia handsets land on the platform, with the once king of the smartphone hardware game having committed fully to Microsoft's platform.
“With Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones,” Ballmer said. “They are not doing something on Android or [any other operating system].”
That all important first Nokia Windows Phone is set to go on sale globally before the end of the year, while Mango itself, plus the first handsets running on the platform, are expected to start hitting the market in the next month or so.