backtop


Print 46 comment(s) - last by lawrance.. on Feb 2 at 9:47 PM


Windows Phone handsets moved 2 million units in November and December, despite only being on America's second and fourth largest networks.
Results are rather mixed, and can be viewed either optimistically or pessimistically

There are now over 2 million Windows Phone 7 licenses delivered to OEMs, but what does that mean for Microsoft and the future of this platform?

During Android's first few months on the market it had only a few percent market share, versus Apple and Research in Motion's dominant positions in the U.S.  Now it owns half the market.

Microsoft is clearly hoping for a bit of the same magic.  The company arguably has the most innovative interface on any smartphone on the market today.  While RIM, Apple, and Google all rely on chiclet-style app grids at the heart their GUI (Google, at least, adds animated widgets to the homescreen), Windows Phone 7 offers a striking visual spectacle of animated menus, most of which are timesaving and intuitive.

Microsoft announced this week that Windows Phone 7 moved 2 million licenses in Q4 2010.  That's largely in line with what one might expect, as it indicates that Microsoft sustained the sales pace indicated by previously released figures.  The platform launched on November 8, 2010 and within six weeks (on December 20) had sold 1.5 million units.  

Some were quick to jump on the sales, largely using analysts to hack away at the platform.  Writes Bloomberg:

Microsoft Corp. said it shipped more than 2 million copies of the Windows Phone 7 operating system last quarter, as the company tried to reverse sliding smartphone market share...

The shipment figure isn’t all that rosy, said Kevin Burden, an analyst at ABI Research.

"The number shows there’s a lot of competition in this space and Windows Phone 7 is having a hard time being heard over the crowd," said Burden, who is based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

Microsoft defends itself.  In an interview with All Things Digital's Mobilized blog, Microsoft Senior Product Manager Greg Sullivan is quoted as saying, "We’re still in the early stages. When people use this phone, they really, really like it. One of the key ways that we’ll measure success of Windows Phone is did we ship a phone people love."

He says that the 93 percent approval rating the platform enjoys by Microsoft's accounting is proof of a successful mission.  Windows Phone 7 users we have interviewed do appear to echo this sort of positive response.  Virtually every Windows Phone 7 user we spoke to at CES (none of which worked for Microsoft or a phone carrier) spoke glowingly of the platform.

But there's a lot more to this story, both good and bad that is being largely overlooked.

First, Microsoft sales look more impressive, given that it is only currently offered on AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.  The good here is that sales will obviously pick up when the new platform lands on America's largest wireless network (Verizon).  The bad news is that Microsoft set a slow schedule for the Verizon and Sprint launches, with no concrete launch dates yet.

Second, like Android, Microsoft is pursuing an aggressive update schedule, which should help it.  It plans to deliver a pair of major updates this spring, which will bring customers copy/paste and multi-tasking.  These updates will "catch it up" with its competitors, so to speak.  This is definitely a positive for Microsoft, and should greatly help the platform's image.

A less than positive note, however, is the phantom data problem.  Microsoft claims the problem, in which phones transmit large amounts of data (tens to hundreds of megabytes of data daily -- or more) is limited to a "single digit" percentage of users.  Yet it has failed to act responsibly and warn users, allowing them to remove the offending program.  It has also failed to provide users with sufficient reassurances that they will not be charged with data overages.

Speculation is running wild about what the offending program may be, following Microsoft identifying it as a third party solution.  One report accuses the HTC Hub of being responsible for the phantom menace; others have accused Yahoo! Mail.  Overall, this problem and Microsoft's poor response are dual negative marks for the platform's image.

So with all this mix of good or bad, what is the outlook for the platform?  Well, ultimately Windows Phone 7 has an increasing array of handsets, and its sales aren't that bad, so we expect the platform to survive and slowly gain market share.  Still, how fast it gains market share is largely dependent on how well it delivers on platform updates and whether it chooses to start acting responsibly about its platform's data issues.

Update: Thur. 1/27/2011 2:50 p.m. -

We reached out to our Microsoft press contact for more information concerning some news networks' negative depiction of this sales data and update on the phantom data issue.  While the spokesperson did not provide us with answers to our specific questions, as requested, they did offer us a general statement.  

They emphasized the following metrics:

• Early research indicates 93% of customers worldwide are satisfied with Windows Phone 7, and 90% would recommend to others.
• Developer engagement is excellent with customers getting access to an average of 100 new apps a day and more than 6,500 apps overall on Marketplace.
• Over 2MM licenses sold to OEMs worldwide. 

And they add, "Sales are an important measure of success, but for a new platform customer satisfaction and active developer investment can be even more important leading indicators of long-term success.These early signs of satisfaction from customers and developers are reason to be bullish about the foundation for long-term success for Windows Phone 7."

We will again, try to provide an update as soon as Microsoft offers more specifics on the data usage issues that are afflicting some WP7 users.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: true it lacks exposure
By Luticus on 1/27/2011 12:46:21 PM , Rating: 4
Multitasking is coming... temporary issue at best.

Accessible file system (this one makes me cry!) ... hopefully a 3rd party will fix this (resco for winmo6.x was epic, hopefully maybe we'll see a new one?)

non marketplace apps - maybe be a moot point in a little while, Microsoft, unlike apple, has been working with... not against the hacking community and has for the most part been extremely friendly toward home brew on 90% of its platforms.

tethering for me is a huge issue! I need free tethering as i refuse to pay for cellular broad band and then pay even more when i decide i actually want to use it.

My biggest problem with win ph 7 is the fact that it doesn't "really" support removable media very well yet. Simply put, if i'm going to go out of my way to buy a $200+ piece of hardware and be stuck with it on a contract for 2+ years then it better have one heck of a good upgrade path so that it can stay somewhat current and "grow with me" so to speak... win ph 7 phones don't so much do this yet.


RE: true it lacks exposure
By Targon on 1/27/2011 2:14:33 PM , Rating: 3
Multitasking is something that really is at the heart of an operating system. If an OS is not designed with multitasking in mind, then at best, you get a real long-term mess that is really really difficult to fix, and may be easier to just ignore until a true multitasking OS can be designed.

Now, there is a difference between not giving apps a low enough level of access to properly multitask, but again, that is a fundamental design problem that can't really be fixed. If you have no easy way to switch between running applications, and all a user can do is start a new instance, rather than picking up on what the app was doing, that means it may as well NOT be multitasking, since you can't get back to where you were.


RE: true it lacks exposure
By Luticus on 1/27/2011 2:23:30 PM , Rating: 3
The simple fact here is that I don't know where they are with it nor do I know where they were with it on release. Who's to day the os isn't designed with multitasking in mind (just speculating here) and all that was left was building an adequate interface for task switching. Who knows where they left off... My feeling on it is that they got multi-tasking up and going in a patch really quick for no work to have been done on it at all. If there was work done then it was obviously intended to be an implemented feature and therefore the os would have been designed to deal with it from the beginning.

Really what I'm getting at here is that nobody really has any idea at all how it will work (unless some preview has been released that i don't know about). I suggest we wait and see how it comes out before we write it off completely. Microsoft my have a bad reputation with a lot of people but i don't think they are completely stupid. They wouldn't release the feature if it didn't work as intended.


RE: true it lacks exposure
By Flunk on 1/27/2011 4:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
Then Windows Phone 7 will not have an issue. It's built on the WinCE kernel, which is great at multi-tasking. The reason Windows Phone doesn't have publicly accessible multitasking is that the user mode bindings aren't yet available.

Your argument about multi-tasking being a core feature doesn't hold any water if you understand the software ecosystem.


RE: true it lacks exposure
By VashHT on 1/28/2011 10:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
Well they do allow multitasking already for first party stuff, IE loads web pages in the background and the zune player can play music in the background. This hasn't been extended to third party but I would think they can at some point since they have certain programs doing it already.


RE: true it lacks exposure
By kmmatney on 1/27/2011 10:28:08 PM , Rating: 1
I have been very happy with the iPhone tethering, after jailbreaking. The tethering App was a one-time $20 charge, but no cost at all after that - its been well worth it.

Funny how everyone seems to say that "geeks" need to get Android phones. There are plenty of geeks with jailbroken iPhones, where you can get tethering, an accessible file systems, ability to run non-store apps, UI customizations, etc...


RE: true it lacks exposure
By piroroadkill on 1/28/2011 7:53:45 AM , Rating: 3
Android's sideloading capability is a single tickbox in the options. It will also not disappear with new firmware updates, unlike iPhone jailbreaks.


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki