Ballmer does not rule out Microsoft smartphone

By Alex Veeneman on July 10, 2012

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer speaking to attendees of the company’s CEO summit in March.
(Photo courtesy of Microsoft)

Microsoft has not ruled out the possibility of developing a smartphone to go up against Apple.

Speaking to the technology publication CRN in remarks obtained by the technology news site Mashable, the company’s chief executive Steve Ballmer said it was not the intention of Microsoft to leave any space uncovered to Apple. “We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,” Ballmer said while at the Worldwide Partner Conference in the Canadian city of Toronto. “We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.”

Ballmer added that Microsoft had advantages. “But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple],” Ballmer said. “Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.”

Ballmer had declared in his speech that this was a powerful year for Microsoft, considering the announcement of Windows 8 and the launch of the Surface tablet. But, Ballmer added in the interview, a smartphone was not out of the question, but said the focus is on the tablet. “Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That’s the focus. That’s our core,” Ballmer said. “Look, we’ll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia, HDC in the phone space. I love what we’ve got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.”

The company said this week according to Mashable that Windows 8 would be available in October. It has not elaborated on a general release date for the Surface tablet.

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