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Microsoft CEO expects Windows Phone 8 to “ramp quickly”

Ballmer wants newest mobile OS to reach the number three spot

While Google's Android and Apple's iOS retains the number one and two spots in the smartphone market, Microsoft is hoping that Windows Phone 8 sales “ramp quickly” to take the number three spot.

"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," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at Windows 8 launch event attended by Reuters. "We are still relatively small ... I expect the volumes on Windows Phone to really ramp quickly."

HTC and Nokia are Microsoft's primary Windows Phone 8 partners, but Samsung is launching its Ativ S smartphone alongside the rest of its Ativ-branded Windows 8 devices. Samsung is one of the few Android partners to succeed with devices like the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy Note.

Ballmer noted Windows 8 has already had a strong start with four million upgrades sold, but new licenses would come with the purchase of new Windows 8 hardware.

"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 said.

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