At today’s Nokia/Microsoft event, Steve Ballmer took the stage to pump up Windows Phone 8 and the ecosystem as a whole, calling it “the year of Windows.”

“We bring a developer platform and the store in a common way to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8,” said Ballmer. “We’ve done a lot of work to standardize the foundation, to give developers across the family of devices the opportunity to monetize their applications in amazing ways.”

“One year from now, between Windows Phone 8, Windows tablets and Windows PCs, we should see close to 400 million new devices running those operating systems.”

“Those devices,” said Ballmer,” …represent the single largest opportunity available for software developers today.

In typical Ballmer fashion, he then made a bold statement. “I’ll bet you right now that the next app developer to hit it really, really big will be a developer on Windows.”

Microsoft’s passionate and aggressive CEO has long been a big fan of developers. He knows very well that they are the lifeblood of any ecosystem. Windows Phone has long been a darling of the press and of the design-literate, especially after Nokia came into the picture with the fantastic Lumia devices. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to attract a critical mass of developers quite yet.

Ballmer and Microsoft are betting that the shared app stores between all of the major Windows platform devices and the shared code-base used for apps will entice developers to try their hand. We’ll see whether that works or not over the coming year.