Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has used what will likely be his last meeting with Wall Street analysts to defend his tenure at the helm of the software giant.
Ballmer, who recently announced he'll be stepping down in the next year, openly discussed Microsoft's struggles in the smartphone and tablet computer markets, but told analysts that for him, it means the company can only improve its fortunes in the mobile sector.
"Mobile devices - we have almost no share," he admitted. "I don't know whether to say that with enthusiasm or kind of uncomfortable tension. But I'm an optimistic guy... Low market share sounds like upside opportunity to me."
Ballmer also told analysts that he regrets that he didn't focus on smartphones sooner, essentially allowing Apple and Google a generous head start in the mobile race as Microsoft focused on developing its Windows Vista desktop operating system instead.
"I regret there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows [Vista] that we weren't able to redeploy talent to the new device called the phone," said Ballmer. "That is the thing I regret the most."
Ballmer once infamously stated that "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance", only to be proved embarrassingly wrong.
However, Ballmer believes that Microsoft's recent acquisition of Nokia's mobile handset business will boost its fortunes in the competitive mobile space.
"The Nokia deal is a lot of things," he said. "One of the things it is, is a way to make sure we can capture the gross margin upside because we're making most of the investment today that we need to make even owning Nokia."
Microsoft is currently a distant third place in the global mobile market with a 4 per cent share in terms of unit sales, compared to a 13 per cent share held by Apple's iOS operating system.
Google's Android, meanwhile, has surged ahead with an 80 per cent market share, and it is now being ported to set-top boxes, games consoles and even laptop computers.
Windows Phone has, however, recently leapfrogged ailing BlackBerry in terms of smartphone market share.