Ballmer on WinMo: We need to hurry up


It’s a tough time to be an IT guy in charge of mobile right now. Employees go home and get their daily dose of Apple from their friends, family, and television, and come back to work wondering why they’re still using Windows Mobile. At Microsoft’s CIO Summit yesterday, a member of the audience took the opportunity to grill Steve Ballmer on the matter:

Question: With platforms like the Google phone and iPhone coming out, it’s really tough to continue to stand behind Windows Mobile when our employees are bringing these consumer devices into our environments,” the questioner explained. “And in your presentation you put Windows Mobile right in the center there, but it was a phone that doesn’t work in America and an operating system that you haven’t released. I’m wondering what your commitment is to continuing to get newer versions of the operating system in our hands so that we don’t have to fight this battle on the ground.”

Ballmer: “We have a significant release coming this year,” he said. “Not the full release we wanted to have this year but we have a significant release coming this year with Windows Mobile 6.5….We still don’t get some of the things that people want on the highest-end phones. Those will come on Windows Mobile 7 next year. Certainly I’m not, um–there’s opportunities for us to accelerate our execution in this area, and we’ve done a lot of work to really make sure we have a team that’s going to be able to accelerate. With that said, we did sell more Windows Mobile devices last year than Apple did iPhones–just an important factoid to have. Blackberry was a little bit ahead, and Google was nowhere to be seen, except in Silicon Valley, I’m sure. But we’ll do our best to help you with that challenge.”

Now, we can ignore much of that answer because its irrelevant to the question The key part lays right in the middle, where Ballmer pretty much flat out says they need to pick up their feet – and that they’re working on it. It took over a year to get from Windows Mobile 6 to Windows Mobile 6.1, and it’s looking like it’ll take just as long to make the jump from 6.1 to 6.5. Then it’ll be around another year before the release everyone’s actually waiting for (Windows Mobile 7) sees the light of day. That’s roughly 3 years between major OS updates – which is an eternity in the mobile world. Yeah, we’re gonna have to agree with the whole needing-to-hurry-the-hell-up thing.

[Quote via AllThingsD]