The Windows Phone 7 launch has been bedeviled by poor sales, the indifference of some retailers, and product shortages. And now there's increasing evidence that things aren't going to get better any time soon.
From launch day, it was clear that Windows Phone 7 was having trouble gaining traction. Initial reports said that only 40,000 Windows Phone 7 devices were sold the first day, for example.
Then, this week, the UK retailer said that Android phones were outselling Windows Phone 7 devices by a 15-to-1 margin.
Now that the phones have been available for several weeks, analysts are weighing in, and they don't have good things to say about how the launch has gone. Last week, for example, AT&T instituted a two-for-one promotional deal on its Windows Phone 7 devices. Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, told this to Computerworld about that promotion:
"Buy one, get one free on all Windows phones [is] not a good indication that things are going well. You don't give them away on special sale."
Ross Rubin, an analyst at NPD Group added:
"Windows Phone 7 still lags in the app race and there isn't as broad a range of handsets available, particularly at lower price points."
Microsoft, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA won't give out information about Windows Phone 7 sales, which led Gold to say:
"There doesn't seem to be much buzz around sales figures, which I would think Microsoft would be excited to share if the numbers were good."
Gold is right. If Microsoft were posting blowout numbers --- even if the company was even selling a reasonably high number of devices --- it would no doubt be touting them. Its silence speaks volumes about how Windows Phone 7 is being received.
Some people defend Windows Phone 7 sales, saying that because it's a new phone operating system, sales of devices that use it shouldn't be compared to iPhone and Android phones, because they have been available longer. In fact, though, Microsoft had built a mobile operating system well before Apple and Google. In 2001, Microsoft released Pocket PC 2002, a smartphone operating system. That's years before the iPhone release in 2007. So Windows Phone 7 is merely the latest iteration in a line of Microsoft phone operating systems. Microsoft wasn't late to the party; it was the first one to show up. Now, though, it desperately needs to catch up, and early indications are that Windows Phone 7 isn't yet doing that.