Is Windows Phone 7 Off to a Slow Start (and Does it Matter)?
There’s never been any doubt that Microsoft has an uphill climb in front of it with regards to Windows Phone 7, and now several reports are claiming that initial sales have been less-than-stellar up to this point — despite the fact that we’ve heard numerous anecdotal claims of device shortages. First, UK etailer Mobile Please states that Android handsets have been outselling WP7 models by a 15 to 1 margin, and even Symbian devices are apparently moving at three times the pace of Windows Phones. The company claims to have done spot checks with other local retailers, who also reportedly cited WP7 demand as trailing that of Android, BlackBerry, and of course iPhone. However, it’s not at all clear how large of a data sample the site is using, nor if these claims are reflective of non-European interest in the platform.
Meanwhile, WMPoweruser is using Facebook data in an attempt to tease out rough sales numbers, going on the assumption that a majority of WP7 owners use the platform’s FB integration. Since the site AllFacebook tracks users of the service’s many applications, one can graph the changing popularity of the Windows Phone 7 deployment, which sits at 126,018 unique monthly users as of this writing. In other words, at least that many people have activated the Facebook feature on their Windows Phone 7 devices in the trailing 30 days. While it may be somewhat useful to track the growth of users, because it will presumably be proportional to the increase in handset sales, we’re not sure that the actual numbers say anything about units sold, since it’s not at all clear exactly what percentage of WP7 owners have used the built-in Facebook features in the past month.
Moreover, even if sales are in fact sluggish, there are a number of factors besides lack of interest which that could be attributed to: so far only two of the four major US carriers are even stocking WP7 handsets, and even then, one of the most highly-anticipated models — the Dell Venue Pro — isn’t widely available yet. Furthermore, many stores reportedly only had small stocks of launch units on hand, making claims of shortages seem more credible. Finally, many potential buyers may simply be taking a wait-and-see approach on what is obviously a completely new platform; even mighty Android needed many months and more compelling hardware before it started to become the juggernaut we’re seeing today.