February 16th, 2009
01:44 PM GMT
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I've just completed my first two big CEO interviews planned for this week at the Mobile World Congress, and they couldn't have been more different.

First it was Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, who is here to launch an upgrade to the Windows mobile operating system (look out for my TV reports for details).

Steve's a cool guy and gave us a great interview, but before we could talk to him we had to negotiate the huge, highly efficient Microsoft media machine.

We were placed into the care of no less than four different minders before being ushered into the great man's hotel suite overlooking the conference venue for our 10-minute audience which was over all too quickly.

Contrast that with the welcome we got at RIM, the makers of BlackBerry devices.

I know it's a much smaller company, but the atmosphere at their show "chalet" was so much more relaxed and informal.

Joint CEO Jim Balsillie was his usual, cheerful and irreverent self and gave his time generously, even when I asked him awkward questions about stock options which have been getting RIM into the news for all the wrong reasons. (You can see both interviews throughout the week on CNN or here at cnn.com.)

Otherwise, it's been a crazy first morning here at the Congress. First job of the day was an early call on a company called Tellabs, which helps mobile operators get the best out of their networks.

They told us about a survey they commissioned in which they asked mobile consumers about their future plans. The results have given the mobile telecoms industry confidence it can weather the worst of the economic downturn.

It showed that while people may be reluctant to splash out on a handset upgrade in the near future, they aren't planning to cut back on the number of calls they make or the amount of data they use.

It would seem that we just can't live without our beloved mobiles and in a recession our phone bills will be considered by many as essential spending.

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