A Wall Street analyst says that Windows Phone 7 has been selling far better than people realize, and that it ultimately will cripple Android sales, leaving the iPhone "the last man standing."
The analyst, Charles Wolf of Needham & Co., says that the Windows Phone 7 launch was "successful." He goes on to point to 130,000 active users on the Windows Phone 7 Facebook forum --- although that's certainly not a large number, by any stretch of the imagination.
Wolf argues that Microsoft will use its $500 million marketing budget to "buy the support of the leading smartphone manufacturers." These manufacturers, such as HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, also make Android phones.
He then goes on to argue that "it's difficult not to conclude that the Android platform will be impacted more than any other operating system because of the similarity of the two licensing models."
He believes that as Windows Phone 7 and Android battle for the hearts and minds of phone makers, the iPhone will be the beneficiary. He concludes:
"With its growing brand equity, the iPhone could end up as the last man standing."
I think that Wolf has got it wrong. In fact, he's got it backwards. Smartphone manufacturers won't determine the success of a platform; users will. Microsoft can spend all the money on marketing it wants, but if people don't buy Windows Phone 7 devices, manufacturers won't abandon Android.
Android sales are booming, and haven't been hurt by the presence of Windows Phone 7. Manufacturers have plans for ever-more powerful phones based on Android. It's not at all likely that Windows Phone 7 will kill it.