Although Redmond's Windows mobile platform has experienced difficulty competing with Apple's iOS and Google's Android, Steve Ballmer says he expects Windows Phone 8 sales to "ramp up" in the near future.
"With the work we have done with Nokia, HTC, Samsung and others ... there is now an opportunity to create really a strong third participant in the smartphone market," he said at a Windows 8 launch in Tel Aviv, Israel, in a statement quoted by Reuters.
"We are still relatively small ... I expect the volumes on Windows Phone to really ramp quickly."
Ballmer also noted that there would be more marketing and advertising around Windows 8, its indigenously designed Surface tablet and Windows Phone - than for any previous Microsoft products.
In addition, the Microsoft CEO confirmed that Microsoft managed to sell more than four million upgrades of Windows 8 during the first weekend after its launch.
"The initial reaction to these products has been really really phenomenal ... And if you look at how people will get Windows 8, the truth of the matter is more people over time will get Windows 8 by buying a new computer than by upgrading old computers," Ballmer added.
The outspoken CEO's comments about Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system were made just days after a slew of reports suggested Redmond was testing an indigenously designed smartphone with a number of Asian hardware suppliers. The rumors do make a certain amount of sense, especially in the wake of Microsoft launching its very own Surface tablet in an effort to showcase the latest iteration of Windows (RT).
Interestingly enough, Ballmer recently went on record as saying: "We're quite happy this holiday [season] going to market hard with Nokia, Samsung, and HTC. Whether we had a plan to do something different or we didn't have a plan I wouldn't comment in any dimension."