HTC Titan  (Source: HTC)
Ballmer looks to Nokia to help

Two major players are increasingly dominating the smartphone OS market: Apple with its iOS-based iPhones and Google’s army of Android devices. Microsoft wants a piece of the smartphone pie as well with Windows Phone 7 (WP7), but so far its efforts have fallen way short.

According to AllThingsD, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has stated at the Microsoft financial analyst meeting that, "We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year." Ballmer did insist that the company is working hard to make the WP7 platform more appealing – the upcoming “Mango” release will help quite a bit on this front. 

Two of the things that Ballmer cited as important to making WP7 more appealing are new browsing improvements and DirectX graphics. Ballmer explained, "I’m not saying I love where we are but I am very optimistic on where we can be. We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level."

Ballmer also claims that Microsoft has created a "very strong third ecosystem" as an alternative to Android and iOS. Ballmer claims that one of the most important things that WP7 has going for it right now is the partnership with Nokia. Nokia is expected to roll out a strong lineup of WP7 Mango handsets by the end of the year. AT&T recently unveiled its 
new line of WP7 smartphones as well.

Ballmer added, "With Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones. They are not doing something on Android or [any other operating system]."

However, there are still doubts as to whether the deal with Nokia will bring Microsoft back from the poor showing in the smartphone realm. Nokia itself isn't doing well in the smartphone market so the tie up pairs two companies that are struggling to make it in a competitive marketplace.

Microsoft recently signed licensing deals with both Viewsonic and Acer to pay royalties for Android patent infringements. In fact, it’s been reported that Microsoft is raking in more cash from Android than it is from the sale of Windows Phone 7 licenses.

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