‘We Missed a Cycle’

Steve Ballmer, to the WSJ about Windows Phone 7:

In a sense, you could say we missed a cycle. We had some execution issues from an R&D perspective. In the time frame since the last significant release certainly the industry has moved, the technology has moved, the hardware has moved.

We said, we’ve got to move forward, not shoot for yesterday. We’ve got to shoot ahead in a way that’s delightful to users, accessible to developers and prioritize everything else we do around those elements.

The interview is an interesting look into where Microsoft is these days in the smart phone world. Here’s another chunk:

Do I think the world’s going to live all on small-screen devices? No. I think people are going to have small-, medium-, and large-screen devices.

Will the technology that powers those be absolutely 100% radically all different? No, I think there will be a lot of shared technology across the devices. You don’t want the same user interface, actually, on every one of these devices because they do have different modalities of operation. I think you’re happy you’ve got a full-sized keyboard right now, for example.

I don’t think any part of the market stops being healthy. What’s the most popular smart device on the planet? It remains the PC. 350 million PCs sold this year, and smartphones might be—what?—a little less than half of that. So smartphones are very important, so are PCs.