Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer sat down with CNBC today for an interview and according to a transcript posted on the site, he’s open to the idea of a big acquisition in the mobile space.As Ballmer said:
Well, look, let’s distinguish between bold technology bets and acquisitions. We’ve made bold technology bets. We’ve bet on the Cloud and our Enterprise business, it’s going fantastic. We made the bet on Xbox, we made the bet on Kinect. Those things have gone super, super well. So I think we’re–we made the bet on… We’ve come from nowhere. We’re growing like a weed in that business. So I feel pretty good about the bets. Now, when does acquisition make sense? That’s a complicated subject, probably best not addressed in this interview.
Growing like a weed? So far, Windows Phone has sold 1.5 million handsets in about two months. That’s not horrible, but it’s not going to help Microsoft catch up with the Android tidal wave or the iPhone.
That’s got to be frustrating, because Windows Phone 7 is actually a pretty solid mobile operating system with some original interface ideas and good integration with other Microsoft services. But it’s facing other platforms with big head starts.
So how long does Ballmer let the “build” strategy play out before he throws the long bomb and goes for a “buy”?