Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer proudly rattled off a list of his company’s accomplishments over the last year at the company’s financial analysts meeting in Redmond Thursday. But he called out one exception: Microsoft’s performance in the mobile phone market. “It was a tough year on succeeding with phones — mostly our own issues frankly,” he said. Microsoft Entertainment and Devices president Robbie Bach followed up by saying that the company’s share of the mobile phone operating system market had fallen over the last year, although he said volume was in fact up slightly (At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Ballmer struck a much more upbeat tone, saying that Microsoft and its partners had sold 20 million phones over the last year and he was “excited about the momentum we have”).
Bach’s solution to Microsoft’s woes in the market was much what Microsoft has outlined before. The company, he said, had been strongest in the business market and needed to extend that success to “customer scenarios.” He also said that Microsoft would invest heavily in its new “Windows Phone” brand. And he said the company needed to work better with its hardware partners. “It is our view that one model, one phone is not going to build volume,” he said. “People are going to want different configurations on their phones. We need to work very closely with Samsung … Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) and others to build a broad selection of phones that provide choice — different pricepoints and different capabilities.”