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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took a few moments during his company s financial analyst meeting to put a brave face on its smartphone efforts. 

It was under a year ago that we launched the first Windows Phone, he told an audience of media and analysts gathered to hear Microsoft executives run down the company s financials and strategy. We haven t sold quite as many probably as I would have hoped we would have sold in the first year.

Nonetheless, in keeping with his role as chief executive, he expressed optimism about the platform s chances. I think with a little bit more effort, a little bit more energy, the level of enthusiasm from the customer base is high enough we ve just got to kick this thing to the next level, he said. And I think we re in absolute good shape in order to be a very strong third ecosystem in the smartphone world.

As in, third alongside Apple s iPhone and Google Android, the latter of which is present on a growing number of devices. For the past few quarters, Microsoft has embraced a strategy of corralling manufacturers such as HTC into paying royalties for each Android device they produce, or face a patent-infringement lawsuit.

Microsoft hopes that its upcoming Windows Phone Mango update, which includes some 500 tweaks and added features, will help attract additional customers to the platform. Ballmer cited Microsoft s partnership with Nokia, in which the latter will port Windows Phone onto its upcoming devices, as another cause for hope.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Microsoft CEO Ballmer Optimistic About Windows Phone, Despite Sales