Defiant Microsoft kickstarts Windows Phone growth…

“The stage is now set,” says Joe Belfiore, the corporate vice president of Microsoft Windows Phone, and the man tasked with expanding Microsoft’s 4% market share in global smartphone sales.

“Given our hardware partners, and Microsoft and Nokia coming together, we are in a good position to kick-start our market share.”

As the tech giant expects to close its US$7.2 billion deal to buy the handset and services division of Nokia by the end of March, Belfiore spoke of the optimism flowing through Redmond corridors, optimism born out of a deep-rooted belief that 2014 is the year Microsoft takes on its iOS and Android competition.

“We faced a massive problem,” admits Belfiore, speaking exclusively to the New York Times at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona this week.

“It would have been very difficult to create a range of devices for every operator at every price that included every app in the world.

“We decided to focus on building something at a limited set of price points in a small, limited number of countries. That’s what we did this year. We had to get that right.

“Now that we’ve done that, we want to get Windows Phone at more price levels and in more countries.”

Admitting there’s no “magic solution” when it comes to attracting users despite not being able to offer the apps that they want, Belfiore remains unfazed by the task ahead for his Windows Phone team.

“We have to grow phone volume where we can,” he adds. “To increase our market share, we have to be available where customers are at low-cost and high-end price points.”

“A year from now, I would like to have widespread consumer knowledge of the type of value proposition that is available with Windows Phone.

“People who use the phones have a favorable experience with them. But we need to get the word out there.

“We benefit from investing in mobile innovation. And we think we have a lot to offer our partners and customers.

“The mobile market will continue to grow, the opportunities will continue to grow. We are not going anywhere.”

Can Microsoft make its mark in the global smartphone market? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below

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