Microsoft Should Reveal WP7 Sales Figures

Just 674,000 Windows Phone 7 smartphones were sold in the first six weeks, says one analyst. Microsoft needs to give us the real number.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

May 4, 2011

3 Min Read

Apple, Research In Motion, Nokia, Motorola, HTC and others all reveal the number of devices they sell each quarter. They are all public companies, and in the interest of transparency, they share bulk sales numbers, though they don't often specify sales for individual handsets and/or platforms. Technically speaking, Microsoft doesn't sell phones at all. It sells software licenses that the licensees in turn use to make smartphones.

The transparency of Microsoft's competitors hurts Microsoft. Today's most popular smartphones are selling in the hundreds of thousands and millions. The makers of those phones are happy to share the numbers, because it makes them look good.

Not sharing, and in fact purposefully concealing, the actual number of Windows Phone 7 devices sold to end users makes Microsoft look weak, and leads to exactly what we have going on here: guessing games.

One possible reason that Microsoft may not want to share the number of WP7 device sales is because it doesn't want to scare off developers. Microsoft has done an excellent job of gathering developer support for WP7, which now has more than 10,000 applications in the Marketplace for Mobile. Without apps, WP7 would have no hope at all. While 10,000 doesn't reach the lofty peaks set by the iPhone App Store and Android Market, it represents a solid start for Microsoft.

Of course, another reason could be that the numbers are so pitifully low, Microsoft would never be able to wipe the egg from its face. (Not that it isn't already wearing a mask of egg thanks to its amazingly bungled update process for WP7 devices.)

Microsoft's recent tie-ups with Nokia and RIM suggest that Microsoft's business lines need shoring up. Why else would it work with RIM so intently to deliver a better Bing to BlackBerries? Why else would it give Nokia billions of dollars to use software that it normally charges licensing fees for? Did Microsoft tell Nokia how many WP7 devices have been sold? If not, and Nokia were to learn the truth, would it run screaming back to MeeGo and Symbian?

Like it or not, Microsoft, the obfuscation has gone on long enough. More than anyone else, your developers deserve to know if they're wasting their time with WP7. Your own partners have sunk their resources, money, and effort into creating applications to support your platform. You owe them a peek at how things are going.

Microsoft, you need to publish data on how many WP7 devices are in the channel, and how many have been sold to end users.

Recommended Reading: Microsoft Aids Porting iOS Apps To Windows Phone Nokia Drops Symbian, Cuts 7,000 Jobs Three Mobility Trends That Will Change Your Business Windows Phone, Blackberry App Development Lags Slideshow: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Revealed Microsoft To Pay Nokia Billions For Windows Phone 7 Switch See more by Eric Zeman

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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