Unperturbed, I asked Payne if he could shed any light on rumours of Project Pink and/or a Microsoft branded phone. "No comment to make, but I'm excited about it," he said cryptically. "There are things I wish I could tell you but I'm not allowed.
"Trying to do everything at once would probably have been a recipe for not doing anything really well. We've chosen to try and release one thing at a time and, while everyone knows the next version of Windows Phone is coming this year, we should have some more specific guidance in a couple of weeks."
Payne was willing to elaborate a bit more on the kind of thing we might see, however. "Three main themes have been coming out in whatever type of research we do; consumers are looking for experiences that are more personal, more contextual and more social. When you see things next month, you'll see those three themes coming through," he said.
"In the last ten years we've gone from a world when people used to just have their PCs on their desk to one where it's in their pockets, their kitchen, their living room, and those devices are also connected. That's really why we've been, quietly and in the background, making some quite deep investments across the different pieces that support that experience."
"At the platform level we have things like Azure, at product level Windows Live and things like that. The experience level is really where we see one of the the next big changes coming, around the natural user interface, some of which we showed at CES (Natal)," said Payne.
"From our perspective that's tremendously important for a couple of reasons. First of all it's the outcome of a multi-year investment. This type of interaction is as profound a change as when the graphical user interface came about at least 15 years ago."