Ballmer admits Windows Phone 7 is not successful

Microsoft's CEO says its sales have gone from 'very small to very small' but promises 'progress'

Ballmer during the opening keynote Monday at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, being held this week in Los Angeles.

Ballmer took time to celebrate some of the successes the company has had over the past year, such as the ongoing success of Microsoft Office and Windows 7. He did display some modesty in admitting that the company did not make major in-roads with Windows Phone 7, though. "In a year, we've gone from very small to ... very small," he said, referring to the market share that phone operating system has made since its introduction last year.

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Last month, survey firm Nielsen estimated that Microsoft Phone 7 was in only about 1 percent of all the handsets now being used in the United States.

Nonetheless, Ballmer maintained confidence that it would enjoy more users in the years to come. "You will see a lot of progress in the market going forward," he said.

This year's WPC is pivotal for the company. Microsoft is under a lot of pressure to produce an operating system that manufacturers could use to compete with Apple's iPad. Attendees, consisting mostly of Microsoft partner businesses, will also be eager to hear of news this week about Microsoft's Azure cloud service offering. More than 12,000 participants are attending this year's WPC.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com.

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