The US launch of Windows Phone is just days away but from all indications the demand will be higher than the supply. Just look at the Best Buy presales of the Surround that were fulfilled shortly after going live. And as much advertising as there is on TV, a look at AT&T’s website doesn’t list November 8 – it’s merely “coming soon”. My gut is that this is because despite what MS was hoping for, the initial launch is going to be tempered because of a lack of stock. The Samsung’s Super AMOLED is hard enough for them to produce in mass quantities but let’s just look at what happened in Europe. At launch we know that a lot of people were disappointed that they were unable to find any phones in stores. In fact, carrier Orange is reported to have given 20-pound vouchers for customers when they were unable to fill pre-orders. In the US there aren’t pre-orders available and it may just be that the supplies are low enough that they are afraid that they can’t even fill a fixed number of pre-order sales. Obviously I’m speculating here but I think what we’re seeing is a supply problem (it could be that demand was overly high but from all accounts supply seems desperately low). The moral of all of this: If you want to get a phone on November 8 get there early or make a friend in AT&T now who will hold one on the side for you (if you’re a new plan you’re gold to them).
Does this shortage hurt or help MS? In the long run I presume it’s fairly neutral but I don’t think we’re going to see anything like the iPad launch with huge supplies but even larger demand. I think we see high demand and very high interest (with people wanting to see the thing first before they commit to it for 2 years) but a lot of us who are committed are going to have to wait…and we will.