Microsoft Releases First Windows Phone 7 Sales Figures
Microsoft has revealed the first hard sales figures for Windows Phone 7. But those numbers come with lots of qualifiers, implying that Microsoft is still concerned about its fledgling mobile OS's ability to compete with the iPhone and Android platforms.
Microsoft touted its Windows Phone 7 numbers in an interview on its Web site. Achim Berg, vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, stated, "We are pleased that phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks." That figure, however, may not be quite what it seems. What Berg failed to mention, as ZDNet blogger and Redmond magazine columnist Mary Jo Foley pointed out, is that those sales are to carriers, not end users.
In the interview, Berg did not release details on how many Windows Phone 7 activiations there have been, which would give a more accurate measure of the phone's popularity. Berg's delicate language seems to indicate that reality, as he says "We know we have tough competition, and this is a completely new product. We're in the race -- it's not a sprint but we are certainly gaining momentum and we're in it for the long run."
In response to a question about sales expectations, Berg is similarly guarded: "I think our expectations are realistic for a new platform. We started fresh with Windows Phone 7, and it's a different kind of phone. Measuring for success is more long term than short term." There's little doubt, though, that if customer sales were strong, as they are for the iPhone and Android, that Microsoft would be making much bolder statements.
For instance, Berg hints that Microsoft expected Windows Phone 7 sales to be slow, given its newness in the market. "We introduced a new platform with Windows Phone 7, and when you do that it takes time to educate partners and consumers on what you're delivering, and drive awareness and interest in your new offering," he said. Those kinds of expectation-tempering statements are the type normally made when a product starts slowly out of the gate.
What is clear is that Microsoft is willing to take its time and build its mobile OS base as slow and steady as necessary. It also helps that there are about 18,000 developers signed up to build apps, as Berg stated. Foley also reported that copy-and-paste functionality for Windows Phone 7 is likely coming early in 2011, and a major update in the third quarter of that year.
Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.