Steve Ballmer Sees Nokia as Windows Mobile’s Only Real Competition

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In an interview with CNET, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave upbeat assessment of the future for smartphones.

In fact, Ballmer points out that his company may reach the point where it sells more copies of Windows Mobile than it does the desktop version of Windows, because there are already far more phones sold every year than there are PCs.

The Microsoft executive went on to say that he feels there are only two real players in the smartphone market: his company and Nokia, which sells devices running the Symbian OS.

Ballmer classified the other makers of smartphones and their respective mobile operating systems as "niche players," including the Palm OS-based devices from Palm, Inc, Research in Motion’s BlackBerries, and the Linux-based smartphones Motorola is offering in China.

When asked about the much-rumored Apple iPhone, the head of Microsoft said it would likely be a niche device too, but he’s taking a wait and see attitude. "We will see what Apple does."

The full text of the interview with Steve Ballmer can be found on the CNET web site.

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