A blog post from UK phone retailer MobilesPlease paints a bleak picture for the recently introduced Windows Phone 7 mobile OS: at this particular chain, the new Windows handsets are apparently being outsold by Symbian handsets at a rate of about three to one, and are being overwhelmingly turned down in favor of similar Android phones.
Unlike rivals Apple and Google, Microsoft sometimes has problems building enthusiasm for new products outside of its traditional Windows and Office markets – the Zune music player and the recent KIN phone failure are two examples of poor entries by Microsoft in unfamiliar markets. Even successful products like the Xbox 360 are up against stiff competition – despite the console’s year-long lead on its competitors, the Nintendo Wii has blown past it in worldwide sales and the PS3 has almost caught up.
While Windows Phone 7 is a brand-new operating system in an extremely competitive market, it’s hard not to be disheartened by these numbers. It should be said, however, that this blog post is based on the mostly anecdotal experience of one retailer, and that it may not be representative of the entire smartphone market. Windows 7 Phone may not have set the world on fire, but it’s not quite time to declare the platform completely dead.
No official Windows Phone 7 sales figures have yet been released, which makes assessing the health of the platform difficult at this point – surely, the MobilesPlease post and the early reports that only 40,000 Windows Phone 7 handsets sold on the first day of availability paint an overly bleak picture of the situation, but if the OS were doing significantly better one gets the feeling that Microsoft would be talking it up a bit more. The company’s silence thus far leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
The situation with third-party applications reinforces this ambiguity – some developers complain that Microsoft won’t release sales numbers for their respective apps and that the company is withholding payment for app sales until February of 2011, but other sources point to the fact that there are currently 15,000 registered app developers for Windows Phone 7 (up from 13,000 at the beginning of the month) and that the number of apps available for the handsets has tripled from 1,000 to 3,000 in the last month.
Microsoft has made moves to boost the phone’s sales, most notably with an AT&T Black Friday buy-one-get-one-free promotion on the handsets and a staggering $500 million advertising campaign to accompany the phone’s launch. Absent a full-on iPhone-style consumer frenzy, it’s obvious that the company will settle for steadily increasing sales that get them back into the phone market in the long run.
Do you have a Windows Phone handset? Do you simply have a strong opinion about Windows Phone handsets? Let us know in the comments!