Steve Ballmer Reluctant to Discuss Windows Phone 7 in USA Today Interview

CNBC financial reporter/anchor Maria Bartiromo’s interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was published in today’s USA Today (Jan. 17). I pulled out the Windows Phone 7 focused responses here.

Maria Bartiromo interviews Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

1. It is telling that Ballmer did not discuss Windows Phone 7 until asked by Bartiromo. His focus until then was the Xbox and its Kinect peripheral.

2. “We’ve got the best-looking phones on the market”. This is, of course, debatable.

3. “We’ve got the greatest range of alternatives, the phones, the software, the craftmanship”. Numerically, Android has more phone alternatives and software choices.

4. “We sold 1.5 million into the carriers”. This is a carefully worded sentence. It does not say how many paying customers bought Windows Phone 7 devices.

5. When asked about people moving from PCs to wireless devices, Ballmer responds: “People are going to do different things in different ways. People aren’t going to start doing all their homework on their phones.” This is an interesting response. Bartiromo did not ask specifically about phones although she did end her question segment by asking specifically about Windows Phone 7. It leaves the door open to the topic of more people using tablets, specifically the iPad, for tasks that were formerly done exclusively on PCs (desktops and notebooks).

So, where does this leave Windows Phone 7 in the big picture? The rumored $400 million in marketing is almost nowhere to be seen. A quick visit to a local T-Mobile store to buy a case for my HTC HD7 (Windows Phone 7 device) did not indicate much of an interest in Windows Phone among the crowd in the store. And, clearly, it is not a topic Microsoft’s CEO finds interesting enough to initiate with a well-known reporter for an interview in a well-known newspaper.