There’s simply no getting around it. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 came to the smartphone party extremely late. As a 1.0 product, Windows Phone 7 had and continues to compete with an array of popular Android devices and an extremely mature and popular lineup of iPhones. That’s a challenging proposition, and while Microsoft certainly has enough money to advertise it’s smartphone offering to death, it’s doubtful that Windows Phone 7 provides enough of a differentiated user experience to really establish itself as a major player in the smartphone market.
Windows Phone 7 launched nearly two months ago and depending on your point of view, sales have been somewhat lackluster. During a Q&A with Achim Berg, Microsoft’s VP of business and marketing for Windows Phones, Berg for the first time disclosed how many Windows Phone 7 devices the company had sold thus far.
News Center: Windows Phone 7 has been in market for almost two months now worldwide, how are sales going?
Berg: Sales are ramping well as our reputation is growing for offering users a unique experience and are in line with our expectations – especially when compared to other new platform introductions…
Another is phone manufacturer sales – phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers. We are pleased that phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks, which helps build customer momentum and retail presence.
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.
Note, though, that Berg isn’t referencing consumer sales, but rather how many devices handset manufacturers have sold to carriers. Actual Windows Phone 7 sales are most likely much much lower. Indeed, initial estimates for first day sales of Windows Phone 7 devices came in at around a paltry 40,000 units.
In contrast, Apple sold 1 million units of the original iPhone in just 74 days. More recently, Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4’s during the first weekend the device was available.
Still, reviews of Windows Phone 7 have been largely positive, which in and of itself is a small victory for Microsoft in light of their many missteps in the mobile space. And though Microsoft has long been a competitive rival to Apple, Cupertino would only stand to benefit from Windows Phone 7 taking off. In the mobile marketplace today, Apple’s iPhone reigns supreme while Android continues to close the gap. A competitive offering from Microsoft would help fragment the non-iPhone smartphone market and inevitably limit the infiltration, influence, and popularity of Android handsets in the process.