Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, interviewed Steve Ballmer at the Churchill Club on Wednesday night. A portion of the talk centered on Windows Phone’s position in the great mobile race. When asked about Microsoft’s strategy, Ballmer pretty accurately says Windows Phone falls in between the two platforms.
Android, Ballmer says, is uncontrolled and a little bit wild from an app compatibility and malware perspective, while iOS is highly controlled and high-priced. Windows Phone, he says, has some of the control of iOS, and the handset and price flexibility of Android. WP falls in the middle of the two ecosystems and brings the best of both worlds.
Android fans may bristle at Ballmer’s insinuation that Google’s open platform is bad for consumers, and iOS fans may frown at Ballmer’s jab at the iPhone, but most reasonable people would agree with his assessment of Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s mobile platform does offer a variety of handsets in an environment that is not as open as Android, not as closed as iOS. It falls in the middle with an approach that tries to please as many consumers as possible. We will have to wait and see whether this strategy helps Microsoft gain some ground in the mobile market.