Windows Phone 7 launched in Europe and Asia on 21 October and in north America on 8 November. It has seen ten different phones launched by a number of manufacturers sporting WP7 in 30 different countries. This is pretty widespread adoption for what is essentially a new mobile OS, yet Microsoft has only revealed the amount of handsets bought by providers from manufacturers in that time with no real sales figures, which leaves us wondering, why?
In an online interview, Achim Berg, corporate vice president, Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Group at Microsoft, said: “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.” When asked if sales figures were in line with expectations, Berg said: “Yes, and I think our expectations are realistic for a new platform.”
Berg also mentions the figure of 4,000 apps now available for the platform and says that 18,000 developers are currently working on new apps for the marketplace. While it’s not fair to compare the relatively new WP7 platform with established phones such as the Apple and Blackberry devices, it is worth noting how far Microsoft has to go when you consider between them Apple and Blackberry sold 14 million handsets in the last quarter.
While there have been a number of issues surrounding the OS since launch, particularly the lack of copy-and-paste and multitasking, it should be pointed out that iPhone users didn’t get copy-and-paste until a couple of years after its initial release and it hardly struggled to gain a foot hold in the marketplace. It has also been reported that the first WP7 update, which is due in Q1 2011, will add this functionality along with much more.
Throughout his interview, Berg seems to avoid talking about specific sales figures by focusing on positive customer reaction to the platform: “What we’re hearing from our customers is that they’re thinking the same way. Additionally, early customer survey data on the overall software experience is very positive and the willingness to recommend our phone is very high. That’s really good for us.”
1.5 million handsets is not a lot of sales, especially when you consider this is just the amount shipped by manufacturers and the real sales figures could be significantly less. It is early days for the OS and updates in 2011 could give it a boost but as Ballmer and Co. are finding out, life in the mobile phone market is not a walk in the park.