Microsoft officials have been quick to tout the fact that unit sales for the Kinect motion controller for Xbox 360 topped on million in its first ten days on the market.
But while the numbers are impressive, they're all the more reason the company's silence when it comes to sales data for another new product launched this month, Windows Phone 7, has led some pundits to conclude the new mobile OS has been less than a smash hit out of the gate.
The contrast was evident at Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday in Bellevue, Wash. At the event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touted Kinect's success.
"We announced that we have sold one million Kinect units in the first ten days since launch, and we expect to sell five million units by the end of this calendar year," said Ballmer, who noted Kinect "is much more than just the future of entertainment, it is an example of new innovations that are enabling people to interact with technology and each other in entirely different ways."
But as for Windows Phone 7, released Nov. 8, Ballmer would not cite any specific sales numbers and said only that Microsoft is "off to a great start with Windows Phone 7." Of the new mobile OS, Ballmer said "it marks the beginning, we think, of a new era in smart phones. The response has been really fantastic," said Ballmer.
Microsoft's lack of specificity on Windows Phone 7 numbers is lending credence to reports early sales have been mediocre at best.
Windows Phone 7 devices from Samsung, LG, and HTC went on sale in the U.S. last Monday on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. One unconfirmed report that's been widely cited by bloggers pegged first-day sales at 40,000 units. Microsoft has not confirmed the numbers which, If accurate, would represent a decent debut for Windows Phone 7, but hardly one that could be considered a blockbuster.
Apple, after all, has said it sold roughly 143,000 iPhone 4s per day during that device's first three weeks on the market earlier this year.
Gartner predicts the release of Windows Phone 7 will help bump Microsoft's share of the worldwide mobile OS market from 4.7% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2011, but says the company's share will ultimately decline to just 3.9% by 2014.