Despite Microsoft's recent decision to discontinue its Kin cell phone effort due to dismal sales just weeks after launching a pair of Kin-branded gadgets with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), CEO Steve Ballmer said that the company is committed to smartphones. Speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday Ballmer said that he is confident that the debut of Windows Phone 7 later this year will reverse Microsoft's position in the mobile market.
Ballmer also hinted that the Windows Phone 7 OS will find success in the enterprise market, which is where Microsoft tends to shine, rather than the youth-oriented social networking focus of the Kin feature phones. "We will give you a set of Windows-based devices that people will be proud to carry at home, and which will also support the kind of scenarios that enterprise IT is trying to make happen in the phone form factor," Ballmer said.
Ballmer also promised Microsoft partners that there will be a number of Windows-based tablets launched in the coming months. Although he didn't mention the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad specifically, he acknowledged that Microsoft partners have been asking when Microsoft would deliver a tablet device.
Late last month a Microsoft executive indicated that the company may launch Windows Phone 7 in October. The company has previously said only that it will launch the platform, its bid to regain momentum in smartphones, during the holiday season. Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Microsoft's Mich Matthews said Windows Phone 7 will launch "this October." A Microsoft spokesman only said that the company "remains committed to bringing Windows Phone 7 to market this holiday."
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