Steve Ballmer, Joe Belfiore: Mobile World Congress 2011

Remarks by Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, and Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Program Management
Mobile World Congress 2011
Barcelona, Spain
Feb. 14, 2011

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. (Applause.)

STEVE BALLMER: Well, thanks, and good afternoon.

The last year has certainly seen a lot of change for our industry. It’s clear today that the mobile industry is moving from a device battle to a platform battle. That change is happening faster and faster. It was only a year ago at Mobile World Congress that we first introduced our Windows Phone 7 product. Windows Phone 7 was really more than the launch of a single new product. Every Windows Phone brings together the best from across Microsoft, including Bing, and Xbox, and Hotmail, and Office, and Windows Live.

These phones have also reached out to embrace third-party services, like Facebook, and enable developers to very rapidly build exciting new applications. For consumers, we think Windows Phones are the easiest to use, and the most delightful phones in the market. And the amount of work we have to do to let people touch, feel and experience certainly stands in front of us.

The past year has been very fast-paced, very fast-paced. In March, we unveiled the Windows Phone Development Platform for the first time, and previewed our Visual Studio toolset optimized for Windows Phones. In June, we delivered our first technical preview. In October and November, our handset and mobile operator partners put the first Windows Phones into the hands of consumers.

Then, this last January at the Consumer Electronics Show, we showed the first new features coming in updates for Windows Phones. That first update will be delivered in just a few weeks in early March as we are moving rapidly to continue the drive forward with Windows Phone.

And if last Friday’s announcement with Nokia is any indication, I think it’s fair to say that 2011 will be at least as fast-paced, if not more so, as 2010. Today, I want to share with you early feedback we’ve received from our customers. I’m going to talk about Windows Phones and give you a small glimpse of what we have coming later this year.

I also want to discuss how we’re building our platform with our new and with our existing partners. With Windows Phones, our top priority is to build phones that people love. Our phones feature two technology user interface concepts that we call smart design and hubs. Smart design makes access to information easier, and completing tasks faster. And hubs organize information, applications and services into complete and integrated experiences.

We knew from the reaction that we got here at Mobile World Congress last year that we were on a right path. And as we survey initial Windows Phone customers today, 93 percent of customers are delighted with their Windows Phones. We’re thrilled by the high degree of satisfaction. Nine out of 10 people who purchase a Windows Phone will tell their families, their friends, their co-workers that they should go out and buy one, too.

Great products are really defined by the passion and the loyalty that they inspire from the people who have gone out and purchased them. And while it’s still very early in the game, we now know that our customers are already becoming broad evangelists for Windows Phones, and the benefits of these two new user interface approaches, smart design and hubs.

Let me tell you a little bit about why, and I want to start with smart design. Research shows that people want a phone that makes information much more accessible, and helps them complete basic tasks more easily. We talk a lot about applications, and all the additional things they want to do, but there are some basics.

Certainly for the last few years, the market has been swamped by phones with fairly similar designs. Phone after phone, good phones, but all filled with home screens that have a sea of icons of applications that connect to information, which leads to commands that trigger action. With smart design, we’re trying to really go about improving that experience.

When a customer sees a Windows Phone for the first time, they almost invariably have a reaction to how different the Windows Phone looks compared to all other phones. Then follows this kind of recognition, at least if they spend a minute with it, the recognition that they like the difference they see. With a Windows Phone, it’s easier and faster to see information at a glance, weather information, stock prices, sports scores, calendar appointments. Without touching a button, or opening an application, right there on the home screen.

With Bing, you simply ask your phone, “Phone, how do I find coffee?” And your phone gives you exactly what you’re looking for, the local coffee shops, directions, consumer reviews, and the like. And all of that with the ability to see what else is nearby just one touch away.

An example of a common task for all of us is taking pictures. You’d think that would be easy. It’s something we all do all the time with our phone. With smart design and a Windows Phone, it actually is easy. If you want to take a picture even when the phone is locked, share it with your friends, no opening an app, just have it; take it instantly, have it saved out to the cloud. Let me tell you, that is not true today with some of the other products in the market.

We’re continuing to invest in this smart design approach, and I want to give you just a couple of examples here in the very near-term. First, we’re going to help customers move between their many applications very easily and very quickly. Just in the near future in 2011 we will bring multi-tasking to Windows Phones.

Secondly, and perhaps even more significantly, we need to give people the full Web, the full Internet, on their phone, like they’ve come to expect with the PC. The Web in some senses has been designed PC first, and we need to make it a first-class citizen on the phone. This past September we released the beta version of our Internet Explorer browser, Internet Explorer 9, for the PC. We’ve had 25 million downloads and we just this last Thursday made the release candidate available of Internet Explorer 9.

Internet Explorer 9 takes advantage, not only of the Web, but of all the hardware in the PC, like the graphics processor, to increase the performance and really deliver the beauty of the Web through the power of HTML5. Well, today I want you to understand that later this year we’re going to release a version of Internet Explorer 9, complete with hardware and graphics, and other hardware acceleration to the Windows Phone.

IE9 is a great example of bringing assets together from across Microsoft to improve the Windows Phone experience. As I think should be obvious from my enthusiasm, smart design really is one of the key focal points for Windows Phone. The second one is hubs. Hubs are tiles that work on your behalf, to organize your information, applications, and services into a single, integrated experience.

It is important, because we love our apps. We love our services. It’s often, frankly, just too hard to find what you want when you want it. And so with hubs we’re trying to integrate the things that are most important in your life, and bring them together. We created six hubs around what our customers tell us they care about most. First, the People Hub, the People Hub combines the information about the people in your life, social feeds, contact information, into a single view. And from that single view you can comment, update, view all posts, texts, send e-mail, basically everything you need to interact from one place with the people who are important with you, without branching always to additional applications.

The Office Hub brings together the documents and information that are important to us in the productive side of our life. We bring together Office applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and then we integrate our SharePoint backend service for business collaboration. You can do a quick edit on your phone, or look something up, save your edits back to a SharePoint site in your business, and keep your team moving along even if you’re, I don’t know, sitting in a keynote, for example, at Mobile World Congress.

For consumers we’ll soon add support, similar support for our free SkyDrive service. So, that consumers can share information in the same way, with their friends, their schoolmates, and others. Customers are already taking advantage of this ability as consumers, to roam information amongst friends, devices, through the cloud, using the Windows Phone, with our OneNote note-taking application, beautiful application if you haven’t used it on the PC, but also implemented and integrated together in the Office Hub on the Windows Phone.

Next hub, Pictures, Pictures brings together photos from your PC, your social networks like Facebook, and pictures you’ve taken yourself on our phone and uploads copies automatically to the cloud, again using our free Windows Live SkyDrive service. That means that pictures that you took a year ago and posted to Facebook, they show up the first time you log into your Windows Phone.

Music and Video pairs the music from your PC and the Web, drags in artist information from the cloud, and integrates other music and video applications so you can actually see, for example, the YouTube video that you pause, and you can stream music you’ve just heard about from your friends, all without launching, or searching for an application.

Marketplace is the simple, single integrated hub to find music, games, and applications. And last, but certainly not least, Games, we brought the benefits of Xbox LIVE to the phone. If you create an avatar, or an achievement, or see the high scores your friends have made, all can be done through the integration with Xbox LIVE in the Games Hub, on the Windows Phone.

Those six hubs, and the services and applications that they integrate are a big part of what makes Windows Phones truly different. This year, 2011, we will bring into these hubs Twitter integration, right into the People Hub. So, if you like the kind of integration we’ve done with Facebook, I think you’re going to love the way we bring Twitter fully and integrated into the hubs experience on the Windows Phone.

To give you a little bit better idea of how smart design and hubs do deliver a truly differentiated, and integrated experience, I’m going to invite Joe Belfiore to come on stage to show you Windows Phone, and Joe has the pleasure of being able to preview a handful of features that will be available in the significant release that we’ll do later this year.

Joe Belfiore.

JOE BELFIORE: Thank you.

Hello, it’s good to be back at Mobile World Congress again this year, and it’s my distinct pleasure to take you all through a demo of some of the announcements that Steve talked about in real code. So, I’m actually going to start out, before I jump into the new stuff, with a little bit of a recap of the current Windows Phone 7 product that you all can and should go out and buy and try today. As you heard from Steve, our customers are really happy once they get in and use it. And as folks who are part of the industry, I really, strongly encourage you to try that yourself.

And what I’m going to do is start out, I have the current Windows Phone 7 here. I want to give you a walkthrough in real life of some of the smart design and hub features that Steve talked about. So, I first want you to imagine a real-world scenario. At home I have three-year-old twin daughters. They are constantly in motion. They’re pretty cute. And if I want to take their photo, as Steve described, imagine I’m reaching into my pocket and I’m pulling out my phone, I press the camera button on the phone, and voila, there’s all of you. Let’s smile down there in the front row. Boom, I’ve taken a picture, pretty quick and easy, one button push, right out of my pocket, take a picture, and like Steve said, even if your phone has a lock, it’s that easy.

Now, smart design goes beyond just taking the photo. As you noticed, when I took the picture, it slid to the left, which means I can go over here and pull it back in from the left, and now there’s quick and easy things I can do with the picture. I can pull up my menu here and with one touch upload that picture to Facebook. We have deep integration of Facebook, Windows Live, and lots of other third-party services throughout these experiences. That’s part of the promise of smart design and the promise of hubs. That’s just one quick example.

If I come back to our home screen, many of you have seen this before, we call these Live Tiles. And the idea is that whenever a user touches their Start button to go to their home screen or start screen, they get quick and instant information that’s relevant to whatever task they’re going to care about. For example, as I scroll down here, the calendar tile there is large enough to show me what my next appointment is and where it is, so I don’t have to dig my way through into a calendar application.

As another example, you see there up top left, that’s a tile of my wife Christina. I call her a lot, I text her a lot. So, I can put her right on my start menu, so she’s always just one click away. And you might notice there, that tile is animating because she updated her Facebook profile earlier today with a comment about our kids being sick, and now they’re getting better. I’m glad to hear that’s happening while I’m gone. But the point is, I can just press my start, and I get glance-and-go information about what’s happening with the people I care about through the integration of these third-party apps and services.

My Games Hub shows my Xbox LIVE avatar peeking in. The Pictures Hub shows a photo of my daughters, and down here at the bottom of the start experience, you see a third-party application, The Weather Channel, using Live Tiles to give me glance-and-go information about the weather without needing to go into the separate application. That’s an example of making the system smart and simple.

Now, another good example which Steve referenced, and I want to give you a demo in real life is how we’ve tried to focus on search and using Bing to help people make better decisions. Because you have a mobile phone, there’s a lot we know about your location, and about the kinds of tasks you’re likely to want to do. So, as Steve said, maybe I’m here in Barcelona, and I have a little bit of a longing for my hometown Seattle coffee, and we’ll see if our connectivity is still working. We’ve had some connectivity problems. But let me try the scenario he said. I’m going to press the little microphone, Starbucks Coffee. Simply speak my query. The audio is packaged up and sent to the cloud to be recognized. You see there our cloud service actually did recognize it, although we seem to not have a connection to our service right now for seeing results. So, as is the risk usually with this many people in an auditorium, and crowded bandwidth, sometimes we don’t get connectivity.

So, I’m going to leave it at that, and I will, again, encourage all of you to go get a Windows Phone 7 and try these scenarios out for yourself. They’re even better when they payoff in your real life.

Moving on from the topic of smart design, let me give you a quick look at some of the hubs that Steve talked about. The first one, as a matter of example, the People Hub, when I go into the People Hub, you can see that it pulls together all the people that I care about from Facebook, from Windows Live, from Exchange, from Yahoo!, from Gmail. The people I’m communicating with most recently are shown right here. So, it’s like an automatic speed dial. If I pan over, I get a list of everyone.

You can see because we automatically link people to each other coming from different services, almost everyone gets a photo. And if I want to update my own Facebook, or Windows Live profile, I can just do it right there.

And, last, if I pan over the What’s New Feed shows me what’s happening with all the people I care about all in one simple, quick place. So, I can pan down and see all kinds of social network activity from those people.

As another example which Steve mentioned, I’m going to scroll down and show you the Pictures Hub. When I come into the Pictures Hub, you can see I can jump right into my Pictures library there. I can pan over and see pictures I’ve taken recently are favorited, or I can pan over and see all of the photo activity of my friends on their social networks. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what people are doing when they post pictures.

Again, I encourage you all, try this yourself and see how efficient it makes you, and how nice the experience feels generally.

So, having shown you this, this is current Windows Phone 7, I now want to move on, and I’m going to move tot the part o the demo where I’m going to show unfinished code. So, I’m going to switch out this phone here, and plug in a phone running an early build of the update that we’ll be making available later this year to all Windows Phone 7 users.

So, I’ve switched over here, and I’m going to move on to another hub which Steve talked about, the Office Hub. See, I lost my projection there, so I’m going to unplug and replug again. Let’s see if it comes back. Now, I’m going to open up the Office Hub, and I want to show you the real code example of how the Office Hub now goes beyond what we do in Windows Phone 7, where we give people access to their OneNote notes, and their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, we let corporate customers connect to SharePoint. But now we’re going to let consumers and small business users get to their documents on SkyDrive.

Since Office 2010 shipped, there’s over 70 million people who are using SkyDrive to do Word, Excel and PowerPoint with the free Office Web Companions. And once we make this update available, all those people and more will be able to do those same great tasks on their phone.

So, here is the notes area of the hub. If I pan over the documents area of the hub, and right here is Locations where at the bottom you see SharePoint servers that I might be doing corporate collaboration on, and access to my phone, and here SkyDrive. I can touch SkyDrive. And because I’ve already signed in one time with my Windows Live ID, I don’t need to do it again. I don’t need to install extra apps. There’s no fuss, no hassle. I can jump right into my SkyDrive.

At the top is my own documents directory, where I might have been using the free Office Web Companions on my PC to create and save documents. And when I jump in here, it’s super easy for me to open them, edit them, using the Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications on the phone.

If I pop back up a level, one of the other really interesting things about SkyDrive is shown by the second item in the list. You see there the item called Project Xfiles, and in small type shared by Augusto Valdez. Now, this is a great feature. With SkyDrive one person can mark particular parts of their cloud storage as public or share with other people. In this case, Augusto might be a person that I’m going to collaborate with on a project. He’s shared this folder with me, and it automatically shows up on my phone, under my SkyDrive, so I know these files are available for me to do collaboration with him. It’s instant and easy, no app download, no extra sign in. When I open the folder, I can go right here, find all these documents, open them up, comment on them, edit it, all the great support that you get with the built-in Office applications that are part of Windows Phone.

So, that is a quick real world example of the Office Hub and our new SkyDrive support.

Now I want to transition and talk about IE9. Steve mentioned earlier, announced that we will have support for Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone in our update release later this year, and I want to give you a look at that code.

But before I show you IE9 running on the phone, I want to give you some information about IE9 on the PC.

As Steve mentioned, IE9 has been doing lots of releases on the Web for people to download and try out, and they had their release candidate earlier this week.

There are two very significant things about IE9 that make it a big step forward for us. One is it has fantastic standards support. It supports HTML5, and lots of HTML5’s richness: Canvas, SVG, it has great CSS support.

And secondly, it does that standards support in a way that takes great advantage of powerful graphics hardware. So far you’ve seen that on the PC, and what you’re about to see is that same hardware acceleration taking place on the phone.

Now, I want to give you an example of just how significant that graphics hardware acceleration is by showing you a video of IE9 running on the PC with some side-by-side comparisons of other modern Web browsers.

So, let’s start the video, and take a look at IE9 on the PC.

(Video segment.)

So, the first thing you see here is our FishIE page where you see the fish Web page being shown in IE versus Firefox.

Now, a bunch of these other examples are Web pages that use hardware acceleration to really give an incredibly smooth end user experience.

I’m going to get ready with the next demo here while this video plays out.

OK. So, that’s a quick look at IE9, and how hardware acceleration really takes advantage of the full capabilities of the PC to make web pages look great.

And what we’ve just switched to here is IE9 running on Windows Phone.

Now, there’s a really important point here, which is that the core browsing engine of IE9 that ships on PCs is the same core browsing engine that will ship on phones. And that’s great news for consumers, because it means they’ll get a great, smooth experience like you see on FishIE here. It’s also great news for developers, because it means when website developers create a site, if it works well on the PC, it will work well on Windows Phone as well.

And I want to give you a little bit of a comparative example. This is the FishIE page, same page you saw in the video on the desktop, except modified for phone screen. Other than that, it’s the same idea. This is running 50 fish, and I want to show you how much this hardware acceleration really matters.

I’m going to pull this down, and by way of comparison I’ve got an iPhone 4 here, running the current build of Safari. The Safari Web browser is not taking advantage of hardware acceleration, so you really get a sense for how dramatic the difference is when we use the full power capability of the device. You saw it on the PC, you’ve tried it yourself if you’ve downloaded IE9, and now you can see the difference on the phone. So, that is a first real-world example of the performance difference.

Now, I’m going to use IE9 here, and navigate over to another site, and just give you another example of what you saw in the video.

One of the sites that was shown in the video — and all those sites you can try yourself if you download IE — all those sites in the video are part of the IE9 Test Drive site. And one of the ones you saw was IMDb. So, this is a mockup of an HTML5 IMDb site that uses animations and rich user experience, and I want to show you how it looks and feels very smooth, just like what you saw on the desktop.

I can touch these movies, and navigate around. I can push the play button, and because the hardware acceleration makes this experience so smooth, the user, although they’ve just visited a website, it’s almost indistinguishable from the experience you would get running a client app on the device.

Now, similarly, one of the other things that’s cool about this — let me move my way around the carousel again here — is that the HTML5 standard supports a wide range of things, but one of the more valuable and important ones it supports is native support for video.

Lots of websites today use Flash or other plug-ins to implement video on websites, and in our case we don’t support many of those sites. But with IE9 and its standards-based support for the video tag, sites like this IMDb site enable native support for video just using HTML.

So, in this case I’m going to touch the item for Despicable Me, we’re going to hit the Web Service here, the website, start downloading this video and playing it, and you’ll see it in just a second — if we still have our connectivity — you’ll see streaming H264 video in high-definition. And maybe we don’t have enough connectivity for you to actually see this, but trust me, we typically would show streaming high-definition H264 video.

I’m going to actually go back and try that one more time and see if we get lucky on the second try. And we’re not going to get lucky on the second try.

Well, unfortunately, that didn’t work. As I said, this is preliminary, not final code. We’ll get all these kinks worked out before we ship it, and make it available to users.

But now what I want to do is switch over and give you one more demo example of the software that’s going to be coming in this free update later this year, and that is walk you through a multi-tasking scenario.

As Steve said, later on this year, in 2011, we’ll make this update available for all Windows Phone 7 users, who will then get added support for multi-tasking of third-party apps.

Today, Windows Phone 7 multi-tasks our own first-party code, but generally we don’t multi-task third-party apps, because we want to make sure the user has a very predictable, long life in their battery.

When apps run in the background, if you’re not careful about how you architect it, they can often spin and use the CPU and other resources, so the battery is drained. What we’re going to ship is a multi-tasking approach that we think does the right balance of protecting the user’s battery, while letting multi-tasking happen.

So, I’m going to start up this demo by running an app. The app that I’m going to run is called Rise of Glory. It’s an Xbox LIVE game that’s now available on the marketplace. If you have a Windows Phone, you can try this yourself. It’s pretty fun. This is a World War I fighter plane simulation.

And once the game launches, I’m going to play the part of the Red Baron flying my triplane over Europe while I’m being attacked by other fighters.

So, the game is loaded, I’ll touch the screen, and here we go.

So, you can see I am — let me turn the volume up here, and we’ll see if I can get some audio. There we go.

I am flying my plane around. And today, if I were playing this game with Windows Phone 7, if I wanted to make a phone call or send a text, if I navigate away from the game, we essentially put it into a deep hibernation, which takes a few seconds to resume.

So, I’m going to do the same thing now. Let’s assume I wanted to make a phone call. I press the Start button. I’ll navigate around, I’ll do my thing, make my phone call, and now I want to go back to the game. We have a convenient Back button.

Today, if I were to do that on Windows Phone 7 for third-party apps, it might take four seconds, for a game sometimes a little longer, maybe even up to as much as 10 seconds. But with multi-tasking the user gets an instant return to the game.

So, here I go, I’m going to push the Back button. Back, there’s our animation, boom, we’re in the game, and it pauses for me so I can press the continue button; very, very fast, effectively instant.

So, I’m going to do it again, I’ll press Start, we navigate way, I can go do something else on the phone, I could run other apps, whatever I want, and when I push Back to come back to that app, voila, I can press continue and I’m flying my plane again.

So, that’s the first scenario, making it really, really fast and easy — I should not fly there — to come back to apps.

Now, second, because we have that, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting for users to have a mechanism to switch between apps they’ve been running recently.

So, we’re adding a new user interface element later this year, which lets people have a task-switching view from their Back button. You could press back, back, back to go to apps you’ve been running or you can press and hold Back, which is what I just did, and we’ll present a view of all the applications that you’ve been running recently. So, you can see here we set this phone up before the demo. I ran e-mail, I ran Fruit Ninja, I ran Groupon on the phone. And I want to give you an example now of when you put these things together, I can switch between games incredibly fast.

So, I’m going to choose Fruit Ninja. I’m live. I’ll unpause the game and here I am killing fruit. So, you can see I’ll do that. Now let’s go back to our Rise of Glory. Press and hold Back, navigate over to Rise of Glory, and now I’m flying my plane.

So, for those teenagers with really long attention spans who want to try playing two games at a time, it will now be possible with fast task switching and our new task switching menu.

OK, I have one more multi-tasking scenario I want to show you, and then I’m going to wrap up this part of the demo.

Another really key thing that people have raised as something they’d like to see on Windows Phone 7 that we don’t support today is third-party music applications being able to play music as you navigate around the phone.

If you use our built-in music application it works OK, but for third parties so far we don’t support that.

So, what I’m going to do is give you a real example of that. I’m going to scroll down here and launch Slacker. Slacker is a free music service that gives me access to a whole bunch of radio stations.

So, I’ve launched the Slacker app, and I’m going to touch Today’s Hits to start playing a streaming radio station. There we go. And now I’m playing this song, 100 Pianos, by July for Kings.

Today, on Windows Phone 7 with a third-party app, if I navigate away from the app, the music will stop. Not so anymore with this multi-tasking support. If I press and hold the Back button, you’ll see again the Slacker application moves into the task view, I can pan over and pick another app. In this case I’ll choose my e-mail. So, now here I am running e-mail and the music is still playing, uninterrupted, just as a user would expect.

If I want to go back to the Slacker app because I want to change to a different radio station or something, I can hit the Back button to go right back to where I just came from, and now I can navigate around and do something with Slacker.

This scenario keeps working in lots of different interactions. If I press the Start button, of course, as you would expect, music continues to run. And we’ve tried to make sure the user experience stays really simple and predictable for people. So, if you want to turn the volume down, the system volume controls work. And right there you can see the track and artist is shown, and I can skip forward, I can skip back, or, as is appropriate in this demo situation, I can just hit the Pause button to stop that music in a way that’s very consistent between our built-in experience and third-party apps.

So, all of these features that I’ve described will be coming in a free update in 2011 for all Windows Phone 7 users.

And before I leave the stage, there’s one more thing I want to describe. You heard me talk about how we’ve worked with the development team, the dev tools team to build third-party app multi-tasking, and how we’ve worked with the IE team to deliver IE9 with its full hardware acceleration, how we worked with the Office team to put SkyDrive support in, but I haven’t or Steve hasn’t, we haven’t talked about Xbox and how we’re going to evolve our gaming experience in some ways.

What you’ve heard today is just some of the features, not the whole story, just some of the features that we’ll have later this year, but there’s one more that’s pretty cool, and we wanted to give you a sneak peek.

As I’m sure all of you know, the Kinect was the hottest-selling consumer electronics item this holiday, and a lot of people have said, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you could do an interactive gaming experience between the Kinect and the Windows Phone?

Well, the Xbox team and our team have worked on this problem, and we’re going to show you a video now of real code. It looks like it’s a mocked-up prototype, but this is real code — look closely — that gives a technology preview of Windows Phone working as a companion to Kinect to give really a completely different gaming experience than you’ve seen anywhere.

And with that, I’m going to leave the stage. Let me introduce you to the Xbox LIVE Kinect Windows Phone companion. Let’s run the video and take a look.

(Video segment.)

JOE BELFIORE: Thanks very much. (Applause.)

STEVE BALLMER: Well, thanks, Joe.

Increasingly, consumers, developers, and mobile operators won’t just pick a phone, they’re really choosing a platform.

Today, we’re working hard, and have worked successfully with OEM partners like Samsung, LG, Dell, HTC, who we’ve worked with now for about 14 years, and many others to deliver incredible phone experiences to customers.

These partners are critical for us and for the end consumer, and they’ve been such a big part of the success we’ve had with Windows Phones so far.

Mobile operator partners like AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile, Orange, Telefonica O2, Vodafone, and 50 others around the globe have brought Windows Phone products to market.

We’re working to be sure that the mobile operator can add value over and above connectivity and distribution and customer service.

Windows Phone will continue to be the best place for mobile operators to add value, and there’s certainly a lot of things that we’re hearing from the operators in the GSMA community in that regard.

We’ve created relationships with software developers and service developers. We’ve built, as I said, the Visual Studio foundation to jumpstart the process to make it easier for developers to build with the tools they already know.

We saw more applications on Day 1 for Windows Phone than any other new phone introduced at the time. Still a lot of work to do, but today, just four months after Windows Phone first shipped, consumers can choose from over 8,000 applications in the marketplace, and it’s rising at a very, very rapid rate.

Over 30,000 developers have registered in our marketplace, and we’ve had over 1 million software developers download our Visual Studio toolkit for the Windows Phone, all of which I think bears promise for the range of interesting things you’ll see on the phone, not counting what we’ll start to see for HTML5 sites that use the kind of technology that Joe showed you at such high performance inside Internet Explorer for Windows Phone.

We’re off to a strong start. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do. And the Windows Phone platform, like any other healthy platform, will only thrive with scale and with variety.

As Windows Phones evolve, we’re going to work with our partners to bring their innovations, their best innovations more rapidly into our platform, while also working to ensure that their innovation doesn’t lead to the kind of fragmentation for developers that other platforms in the phone arena are currently experiencing.

That’s going to allow more phone designs at a broader range of price points, and more exciting new applications and experiences for Windows Phone customers than we can imagine.

On Friday, we announced a very important new partnership with Nokia. In this partnership Microsoft is providing our powerful Windows Phone platform, and our backend services, many of which we had a chance to show you today.

Nokia has incredible capabilities that are well-known to everybody in the audience, whether it’s industrial design, deep expertise in key areas like camera and sensor technology, broad, very efficient supply chain capabilities. We’re sure from that base that Nokia is going to be able and will deliver absolutely phenomenal Nokia Windows Phones.

Additionally, the maps and location-based technologies that Nokia has built will now be used broadly in Bing, not just on Nokia Windows Phones, not just on Nokia Windows Phones and all other Windows Phones, but will be used in our Bing services broadly across all of the target platforms: PC, phone, TV, wherever Bing goes in the future.

Nokia’s involvement with Windows Phone will drive volume, will create new innovations and new products, and will accelerate the adoption of the Windows Phone platform.

I think that the additional energy that comes with this Nokia announcement to Windows Phones will help consumers get new hardware, fresh choices, and amazing services.

I wanted to invite today up onstage with me Stephen Elop, the CEO of Nokia, to give you a little bit of his perspective on this important new partnership for both companies. Stephen. (Applause.)

STEPHEN ELOP: Thank you, and good afternoon. It’s truly a pleasure to address you here today at a moment that we think is pretty significant in how we see the evolution of the mobile industry evolve.

You’ve heard me talk about it in a number of forums, that the world is shifting from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems. And with the announcement that we made jointly with Microsoft just a couple of days ago, it’s very clear the selection we’ve made as it relates to that war.

As you read all of the press and the analyst commentary, of which there’s been a little bit over the last couple of days, it is the case that there’s a common theme emerging that I want to focus on, and that is that Microsoft and Nokia together represent a natural partnership. People are getting it, and they’re getting it for a variety of reasons.

First of all, if you think about the device experience, Nokia brings iconic hardware, incredible industrial design, and we’re matching that up and bringing that together with a leading operating system platform for the future, with an amazing amount of capability that you saw demonstrated here today, and between the two of us we have the understanding of what it means to take it from where it is today, even more broadly down through the pricing continuum so that we have the opportunity to deliver an entire portfolio and range of devices the world over. So, that’s an incredible bit of symmetry and the complementary nature of the relationship, a very powerful element.

A second point of symmetry relates to the area of our global reach, our distribution, the power of our brand, the volumes that we bring, and what we can do to strength the Windows ecosystem, while at the same time getting the support from Microsoft to help us address some of our challenges, which, of course, relates to reentering the U.S. market in a compelling way where Windows Phone has already had a strong start, so there’s an opportunity there.

And, of course, the third point of symmetry relates to the services area that Steve referenced here a few moments ago. We bring mapping, location-based services, the capability to do local advertising, and a variety of other things, together with things like Bing search, Office for productivity, Xbox, and a variety of other things, and thereby form that third ecosystem, because again what our consumers are purchasing today is a combination of all of those things, a single user experience that is a combination of all of those pieces, and together we’ve been able to bring those together to create that third ecosystem.

But if you were to sum it all up, what we’re able to do through this relationship is to ensure that we deliver products that are more competitive, which, of course, is what it’s all about.

Now, it is our belief that this is good news for operators. It’s good news for operators because we’re in a situation where we can actually create that third ecosystem and create an entirely different dynamic than that which was appearing to be forming as it relates to the actions of those other ecosystems, and you understand what I mean in terms of the importance of that balance, because that balance also allows operators to deliver more choice to the ultimate consumer, which is important.

It is also the case that for operators Nokia has had a longstanding relationship with operators all over the world. We understand what it means to be the most friendly partner to operators, we know what we have to do, and this is an area where we will be contributing our strength and our knowledge, our engineering and other assets to allow the Windows Phone ecosystem to be unquestionably the most operator-friendly ecosystem that exists today, because that’s clearly part of it.

We also think this is very good news for developers. It’s good news for developers because we can bring a scale operation, a large number of devices and opportunities to reach customers all over the world through what Nokia will deliver to this partnership through our broad reach and distribution.

Microsoft has a very modern collection of tools to help developers move in that direction. Nokia contributes things like operator billing and other forms of monetization that are not available through any of the other ecosystems. So, we bring those pieces together.

And, of course, finally and most importantly, we think this is great for consumers: iconic hardware, stellar software, combined with unique services, the third ecosystem. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity.

So, there’s been a lot of news, a lot of things going on. Our focus today shifts to delivering those first devices, and changing the industry.

Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)

STEVE BALLMER: I certainly want to thank Stephen for joining us here today. Nokia’s support will help Windows Phone overall to build strength versus the other mobile platforms or ecosystems. That’s not just good for Nokia, that’s actually good for all of our handset partners.

Additional unit volumes have increasing return for Windows Phone developers as well.

And, of course, operators want more alternatives that are at real scale, that enable the operator to add value.

And as Stephen has said from the Nokia perspective, I’ll say from the Microsoft perspective, Windows Phone will be the most operator-friendly platform available.

Today, customers are falling in love with Windows Phones, and this year we’re investing significantly to continue popularizing the product. We’re making Windows Phones even better. Whether it’s Internet Explorer 9 or multi-tasking, the integration of Twitter and SkyDrive, and much, much more actually that we’ll share later this year as we bring next generation phones to market with our hardware partners, with Samsung, with LG, with HTC, with Dell, with Nokia, you’ll have a chance to see those additional innovations come to fruition.

We have a lot of energy, optimism, and a sense of tremendous opportunity for everyone who participates in the Windows Phone ecosystem, and, of course, for every consumer who buys a Windows Phone.

2011 is shaping up, I think, to be a very fast-paced year, but it should be a great year. It should be a great year for our company, for our industry, and for the development much more broadly of intelligent mobile devices and the value that they add to society.

I thank you for the chance to speak with you today, and I hope you enjoy the rest of Mobile World Congress. (Applause.)