Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was the subject of an embarassing misquote on Tuesday.
Ballmer was speaking during Microsoft’s annual shareholders meeting and answered several questions on Microsoft’s future. The most notable were his comments on a “post-PC” era of computing. Ballmer was asked whether we are in a post-PC era world and what his expectations are of the PC market going forward. He replied:
“Well one thing I know is, we’re certainly not, we are in the Windows era. We were, we are and we always will be. That’s kinda what we get paid to do. We’ve got broad Windows initiatives driving Windows down to the phone. With Windows 8, you’ll see incredible new form factors powered by Windows from tablets, small, large, pens, smaller, bigger, room-sized displays. We are in an era in which the range of smart devices is continuing to expand. That’s a fantastic thing for Microsoft. That is a real opportunity.”
You can hear Ballmer’s full remarks below. A large number of press outlets and bloggers heard his remarks differently and thought Ballmer had confirmed that Windows 8 was coming to phones. Microsoft has been very clear that Windows 8 will be made available for 7″ devices and upwards. My understand is that Microsoft has no plans to make Windows 8 available for phones and that the company will focus on pushing the two ecosystems together with Windows 9, which will also include the mix of a next-generation Xbox.
Microsoft’s Andy Lees, the company’s president of the Windows Phone Division, spoke at a keynote address during Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this year. Lees outlined a single vision for combining Windows and Windows Phone. “We won’t have an ecosystem for PCs and an ecosystem for phones, one for tablets. They’ll all come together,” he explained. “It’s not that this is about replacing the PC, and that’s why our strategy is that these new form factors are within a single ecosystem and not new ecosystems themselves.”
Despite the overarching mission, Microsoft will not accomplish this with Windows 8 alone. “Our strategy is not just limited to that. We are aiming to provide coherence and consistency across the PC, the phone and the TV, particularly with Xbox. That’s through providing new types of scenarios, things like the way in which you make the user experience more common,” said Lees at the time. Expect a single ecosystem in the future but not as close as Windows 8.