Microsoft's Build 2013 developer conference kicked off in San Francisco yesterday, with the focus firmly on Windows 8.1.
For mobile purposes that means tablets, and mainly the promise of plenty of smaller screened Windows tablets than we've seen so far, but Microsoft also had some fighting talk on the Windows Phone front too.
Sadly, talk was all there was - no Windows Phone 8.1, for instance. But nonetheless WP product manager Larry Lieberman was bullish in comments made to The Verge, saying “we think we're solidly the third ecosystem right now” before claiming “that's a huge announcement in some respects”.
Windows Phone does continue to make slow but steady gains, and is indeed to some degree “solidly” in third place when you consider its and BB10's respective trajectories, but it's still miles behind Android and iOS – though you wouldn't exactly expect Lieberman to dwell on that.
Not when BlackBerry makes an easier target. “I don't think they can bring to the table some of the things we have,” Lieberman opined. “The fact like we're delivering across such a different set of price points to such a large audience.”
To be fair he's right, with even a pure Nokia v BlackBerry product lineup showing the Finns to have the wider range, and that's before you factor in other WP8 OEMs like HTC, Samsung and Huawei, even if they have relatively small bases at this point.
At the main event WP8 had a presence too, and it came primarily in the form of some stats supposedly showing the healthy state of WP uptake (according to Microsoft, at least).
We were informed that 42% of Windows Phone sales have been first-time smartphone purchases from feature phone owners, then told that 4 billion feature phone customers worldwide still don't have a smartphone.
Wonder how many people tried to work out 42% of 4 billion at that point.
Then came news that 23% of sales came from former Android users. But once you account for the 42% mentioned above and the no-doubt smaller proportion who would be on their second generation of WP phone (all things considered), that would be pretty much exactly what you'd expect given Android's market share.
This isn't having a go at Microsoft, by the way, it's just pointing out that most of the time stats are purposefully framed in language that suggests things the numbers don't conclusively show.
Which is the only reason they end up in presentations like this in the first place.