Windows Phone Xbox - 27 November 2010
Author: Doug Simmons

flopFrom Slashdot: Apparently those shortages are no longer a problem as AT&T and T-Mobile are offering BOGOs on WP7 devices including the Surround, Focus, Quantum and HD7 in addition to a $0 with-contract deal on the Surround and Quantum. Not necessarily a bad sign, somewhat ambiguous (whereas the 25% cuts on Sony’s Google TVs is obviously a bad ). Maybe Microsoft just wants as much market share as they can grab at any cost and Microsoft is no stranger to selling things at a loss into the billions. Or it’s doing quite all right but they still want to spray more gasoline at it.

A few days after WP7’s release in the States David K passed on a claim that the launch may not have even broken 40K units. The claim which originated from thestreet.com had no citation but it spread around the web pretty fast with no further information from anyone including Microsoft. People have remained thirsty for such figures and pulling a number out of one’s ass and blogging about it is a good key to pageviews, though we’ve resisted.

Now I’m not saying this is a solid indicator of anything other than what happened on one website, but it’s turning into the next 40K wildfire nonetheless: UK’s TheRegister is reporting that MobilePlease, a consumer/dealer brokerage a la Pricewatch that tracks outgoing clicks and subsequent sales, saw its visitors over the past two weeks target their clicks and credit card numbers at Android phones fifteen times as frequently as WP7 devices, Blackberries ten times, iOS and Symbian combined at four times.

Even though that data comes out of a microcosm of confounding variables, between that and the BOGOs and the original 40K claim and that, though this is anecdotal (chime in please), it’s been three weeks and I have not seen one WP7 device yet in New York City, well, it’s looking more and more like Microsoft did in fact show up too late to this party and that if you think they’ll manage to creep their way into a solid foothold and eventual profitability in the mobile market it will take a whole lot of cash from the Xbox fund to usher it to that point.

But Ballmer’s both crazy and tenacious, especially with the consumer stuff. I see Microsoft throwing in no towels on WP7 if this information is at all accurate. I do see, however, Verizon not shipping out huge piles of the devices to all their stores in anticipation of the big rush, the overnight campouts. Still, that they intend to touch WP7 is something to regarded with optimism.

I’m not grabbing onto soft, negative data with glee here. A few bugs notwithstanding, having read our own website from time to time, watching the Youtube videos, reading the commenters’ enthusiasm, it’s obvious to me that Microsoft’s developers delivered a fine product, an excellent one. I don’t need to head to AT&T and mess with one to confirm that, I get the point. The thing’s a great platform according to almost every review I’ve read. Heck, it even has Netflix out of the box.

Looking at WP7 device traffic to this website relative to overall traffic, it appears that most of those in this audience who would ever buy WP7 devices (excluding overseas owners who make up about a 12% share of WP7 visits lately) bought their device by the fourth day (Nov 12th) after which WP7 traffic has gone sideways. No WP7 spike yesterday – perhaps because people were to busy going out and buying a Windows phone to visit the site. Or perhaps not. By the way, in case you’re curious, Samsung Focus his outnumber all other WP7 device hits combined.

Glancing at XDA’s top three categories or arrays of forums which are for Windows Phone 7, WinMo and Android Dev/Hacking, there are currently 121 total viewing WP7 versus 515 for WinMo versus 643 for Android. I wonder in which direction the majority of that 515 WinMo crowd is more likely to go at this point for their next device, WP7 or anything but Windows.

Sales of WP7 versus my pony Android, from my perspective, isn’t just about bragging rights – not anymore. It’s critical to attract developers with a strong liftoff, both the little guys and the likes of Amazon with their Kindle app being advertised for every device except WP7. That’s one way sales of devices of your platform affects you. Six out of ten of WP7’s most popular apps are made by Microsoft (not counting the third party developers they paid to make a WP7 of their software) versus Google’s top ten being made up by only a couple Google apps. I bet it’s the same story with Apple. Another example, OEM interest to get into the WP7 ring if they’re not already in the ring and if they are to stay put and keep churning out new devices to hand off to carriers whose interest is a function of consumer interest. Leap right into the vicious cycle of success.

Suppose a year passes and WP7 has not even overtaken WinMo. What then? They essentially scrapped WinMo, brought in a drawing board, using it first to write down another name to slap onto it. Apparently Ballmer fumbled the timeline of the entire project and its launch and that’s  a damn shame given all the work that must have gone into it from people who did their jobs competently and the enthusiasm with which you people embraced the devices.

msftballmer

Why was I seeing more AT&T Blackberry Torch ads around and after the launch than WP7? Is that AT&T’s fault? No, it’s Ballmer’s. Which of the launch problems we’ve heard could not have been both anticipated and solved with more money? He should have dealt with that (it’s not like Microsoft lacks the capital to turn up the volume), he should have anticipated and dealt with half-assed pushing of the devices by the retail salesmen, he should have done whatever it took to get Verizon on board before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If he needs to buy WP7 adoption, rather than it selling itself like a Honda in a market that’s matured too much for that to work, shouldn’t he be going full throttle out of the gate? In addition to giving them away as he is now with a contract, given the stakes, why not take it a step further and subsidize those contracts for two years? Free phone, free plan, free everything, don’t even need your signature, come and get ‘em. Either do everything it takes to make this a contender or bail out and stick with enterprise software where you seem to belong. Pay up for a tow, otherwise you’re just steadily sinking into the mud while you spin your wheels, your passengers in back wishing someone else would take the driver’s seat.

Doug Simmons









About Author

Biographical info.. hmm. I have a history of not being able to strike the balance between what is "safe" to put into these forms and what is, in my mind at least, funny. Can't do it.

(29) Readers Comments

  1. Weak sales at this point shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone. Most people outside of the smartphone enthusiast crowd wants nothing to do with Windows Mobile and they think Windows Phone 7 is just another crappy smartphone OS released by Microsoft.

    WP7 is a long term strategy for Microsoft and it’s vital they get things right the first time and release a quality product which I believe they have. This time next year we should have a much better idea of how much an impact WP7 will have in the smartphone market and its overall success.

  2. all this from the mind of a sick fanboy like you and page pro android, already believe, people buying android which is of the most ugly and evil of this world, forgiveness, but have to be blind to buy an android

  3. My friends tell me they don’t want Windows Phone 7 because they read gadget sites that said Windows Phone sucks because it doesn’t have features XYZ. I told them to go to the store and try it out and we now have 4 Samsung Focus on campus.

    What we see at the moment is pioneers snatching up Windows Phone 7 handsets. The majority of consumers are just buying what their friends have and what’s popular at the moment.

    The whole campus is filled with iPhone and Android handset is a rare siting so I wouldn’t be surprise that WP7 doesn’t take off like a rocket.

    So Doug Simmons, don’t you or anyone else count WP7 out just yet.

  4. is funny that this news the public a linux site pro android and put it here a fan of android, ey this again, is not official, as if android when went sold much, took 2 years exceed to iphone, now want windows to do so in a month, they seem to who are nervous, I say: If someone buys a horrific as android, cell as hara much more with windows which is superior in all

  5. Fair article Doug, but one question; in paragraph 4 did you mean three weeks, “it’s been three months”, or are you referring to the handful of developers in NYC who may have had their hands on a WP7 device prior to launch. Think Ramon was the only guy in America who got his before November 8th.

    Just an FYI, WPCentral reported here, http://www.wpcentral.com/confirmed-samsung-doubling-down-windows-phone-7-sidelines-android, that Samsung has plans for 63% of their 2011 device lineup to be running WP7 vs. 32% for Android. And this is despite huge gains in Android sales. They expect to sell 40MM smartphones in 2011, so that’s a big number. And I remember reading somewhere that for 2011, HTC expects a close to even split between WP7 and Android device releases (not necessarialy sales).

    So while it’s way to early for Mr. Ballmer to pop the cork on the bubbly just yet, me thinks the slow Microsoft train has just started chugging. Don’t know where they are going to get their fair share of the smartphone market pie; iPhone, Android, BB, or brand new users (there are lots and lots of them) but they will. Change takes time, but change is inevitable.

  6. @jimski

    Those numbers from Samsung and HTC don’t mean anything good. Its quite the contrary.

    It will take Samsung 7 wp7 devices, to try and keep up with 3 Android devices.

  7. More handsets = more markets = more options for consumers = more sales. Apple is the only brand than can get away with offering a single model. And the important point is they are trying, not abandoning the platform before it gets started. Unless we are to believe that Microsoft is paying Samsung for that as well.

    But that’s OK. I am going to save this thread and maybe it can get reposted in let’s say September, 2011. That should be enough time.

  8. I will be shocked if the WP7 market doesn’t take off. I’m loving the OS, and definitely impressed with the Focus.

  9. @Jimski more phones does not equal more markets. It just equals more phones.

    No they will not abandon the OS anytime soon, and I hope never.

  10. @king: Ok, so I guess Samsung will introduce 3 new/different phones for each US carrier next year so the phones can compete against each other at the individual store level as well as carrier level. Never mind.

  11. Interesting observations… I don’t think MS expected it to be an easy feat straight put of the bat, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be around long enough to penetrate the market more than the current analysts predict. Having a windows phone myself I’ve can truly say that those who look at phones really aren’t always convinced by blogs and news articles but by using one themselves. A graphic designer friend yesterday that she absolutely loves the look and feel as she was navigating around the Facebook app. This bodes well for MS given a lot think of them as unimaginative.

  12. I was one of the ones who went out and got a second device on Friday. If I’d had to pay another $200, I probably wouldn’t have done that, but seeing that I’d already dropped that for mine (price of being an early adopter I guess as others got it for less), it didn’t take long to decide to get one for my wife. The OS runs smoothly and I think MS will be investing pretty heavily in this for a while to gain marketshare. Sadly, the MS marketing machine just isn’t really in the same league as that other company. Ads have kind of been there, but there’s something about that other company that really drives people to want things they’ve never even thought of before. I think the product placement and ads will help a little bit and seeing people use them will help as well.

    Apparently some of the issues I ran into with phone upgrades last time around aren’t an issue any more. Last time I upgraded (to a Fuze), I couldn’t get the better prices because they either weren’t available for a family plan upgrade, were only for new customers, or required me to upgrade every phone on my family plan as well. This time around it seems like people could get the device any way they wanted. Guess I’ll do some research next time around.

    Interesting anecdote, had an Android user take a look at my device and his observation was “I don’t hate it”. (Which was high praise for him.) It’s a different concept, but I think it’s got promise. Time will tell there.

  13. One point not covered is that just like Google, Microsoft does not need to make a dime on Windows Phone. Case in point; I don’t own an XBox, and probably never will, but now I own 4 XBox games for Windows Phone, along with 15 other moderately priced apps, I have a fairly large collection of vintage CD’s, but yesterday I signed up for a 1 Year Zune Pass so I can listen to the music of my choice whenever and wherever I want, and I just downloaded a trial of Office 2010, so I can sync OneNote with my Windows Phone. And I haven’t mentioned Enterprise yet. One phone purchase and 4 business units see revenue. It’s freaking genius that’s what it is.

  14. @jimski: To expand on this. All of their cloud services will be integrated with this phone eventually and most already are. You also have Bing that’s integrated throughout the entire phone.

  15. @Mike: Agreed. I was just highlighting the services that have already taken cash directly from my pocket. Other free services, like Windows Live, SkyDrive, Live Mesh & Bing help to fill out the platform positives. Sharepoint and Exchange are big plusses for Enterprise users. Something for everybody and lots of opportunity for all the Microsoft brands. That’s why WP7 MUST succeed, at any cost.

    And to update the Zune Marketplace comment in the article. There are 4 apps in the top 10 Free Category made by Microsoft as of today: YouTube, Facebook, XBox Live Extras and Unite. Aside from XBox Live Extras, none of the other apps are Windows platform specific, like Google Search or Google Maps or Google whatever. That’s cause all that stuff is already in there. YouTube admittedly is necessary for viewing videos (also the top download, period). With the FB integration, Facebook is not really needed but I guess Microsoft thought it was important to have. And Unite is a simple free game to get the ball rolling. No pun intended. The other six; Adobe Reader, The Weather Channel, Netflix, Shazam, Twitter and IMDb, several of which were sponsered by Microsoft, are helpful, but not essential. I downloaded 4 of the 6 and have already replaced Twitter with a better independent client. Hey, at XDA I donated $7 to help get a broken IMDb app working and now I have a real app for free. What’s not to like.

  16. Fair article. What I will say is that wars are not fought and won in a single day. People have this “pie” mentality that suggests Company X’s gain is Company Y’s loss. This is simply not true as the entire Smartphone market is expanding.

    What I do dislike to see happening is Microsoft not flexing the muscle they have and basically telling the OEMs to produce top of the line stuff or the contract is null and void. Crap like Dell shipping Venue Pros with engineer testing batteries is prime example of Microsoft’s misplaced trust in OEMs. This is one area where I applaud Apple for taking the middle man out of the way. The ZuneHD was a great designed device so I know they have what it takes to produce the hardware.

    Again, I questioned why Microsoft didn’t hire several prime celebrities to throw behind their product similar to how Ashton Kutcher is behind the Nikon camera. Like it or not alot of people are followers and act accordingly. Stop giving the consumer so much credit because they/we have proven time and again that the best product isn’t always the one chosen its the one we “feel” like choosing.

    My wife actually said she wanted a certain laptop because it was pretty despite it being $250 more than another laptop that had almost twice the features and memory of the same brand. This is the consumer mindset.

    BTW, I had a friend over for Thanksgiving and he tried out my HTC Surround. He is an iPhone owner and Mac user. By the end of the night he was posting on Facebook that the iPhone AND Windows Phone were the two best phones and Android is crap.

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  18. @Doug, I think you’re right (again) on some aspects. Why don’t MS push it further? Where are the ads and commercials? We haven’t seen any in Denmark yet. A Microsoft spokesperson has been interviewed in a radio program and a device has been reviewed on TV (they concluded it wasn’t any good at all) – that’s all!!?? It sure isn’t good enough to make an impact.
    My guess is that at most 200 WP7 phones are sold here and my phone provider told me, that they sell around 200 Android phones every day (he was a fanboy so don’t take his word for it), and looking at the smartphone section of their website it might be true. WP7 is sadly nowhere to be found!
    Anyway… it is of course too early yet to say that it isn’t a success, it will take time and not happen overnight.
    I have bought a WP7 phone for all members of my family, and we all simply _love_ our phones – they are marvelous. And I encourage both my wife and kids to show their phones to everybody. Hopefully we will help make the ball start rolling :-)
    A thing I have noticed is, that every time I show my phone to Android and iPhone users they are skeptical at first, but they have to admit that it works nicely regardless of the missing XXX feature.
    I may be wrong on this one (I often am), but I find it amusing that they apparently don’t like the competition. They don’t really worry about Symbian, Blackberry or the opposite Android/iOS, but this Microsoft thing… they won’t admit it, but they don’t like it ;-)
    @ALotOfOtherPhoneUsers: Don’t be so harsh on the “OS from the other company”. 200 gazillion Android users can’t be lying when they say, that this is their best phone. Android phones _are_ great and if you say they are crap, then you haven’t got the point!
    And I am yet to meet an unsatisfied iPhone user! They even upgrade their 3GS to iPhone 4 – they obviously are very happy with their phones.
    Personally I am obviously a WP7 fanboy, but that doesn’t mean, that I can’t see that the other phones are great – they are just not the phones that I want.
    DavidK wrote a wonderful article about it – thank you David.

  19. @gary:
    I have the focus also and it is by far the best phone I have ever used I have had an iphone for three years and a droid for 4 months couldnt stand android it is so laggy and buggy plus verizon is appaling here where I live the screen is beyond beautiful and so bright office is great and xbox blows all games from apple away everyone I show my phone to at work want it and they have iphones seems everyone is just locked in it will take about 6 months to a year to see a real increase in wp7 share

  20. @jesse: The Evo took off because Sprint made sure it was out before the iPhone 4 got out. Between those two phones alot of customers got renewed for contracts and now have to wait it out to get a new phone. I’m not talking about tech inclined phone enthusiasts but others who simply purchase new phones when their contract is up.

    For some the BOGO offer is the equivalent of getting your ETF paid.

    Microsoft’s job is to put the first gen WP7 devices into as many hands as possible. Heck, take a loss if you have to. The next gen should build on the current models and have features that are hand in hand with Apple and Android.

  21. Good Blogs guys, but I must say I am in awe of the new Windows Phone 7. I have had the phone for only a week and cannot seem to put it down! There are just too many perks to enjoy.

    I always had a bigger need for the windows mobile devices for business use first. Each time I tried a different mobile OS it just didnt meet my business standards. I broke my windows mobile 6 phone at one point and went to AT&T to find a replacement. I was sold hands down on trying the iphone because if I didnt like it, I could return it in 30 days. Needless to say, it didnt make 24 hours with me! The inability to multitask was horrible! I was a heavy IM user and each time I went back to the main screen I was logged out. Oh I searched for apps and fixes and ran across jailbreaking and the such…aaah too much work! Furthermore for the basic functions I needed from a business perspective, I would have to buy the app. GEEZ! Oh it turned it in QUICK and got a HTC Fuze.

    The fuze was the only phone close to what I wanted (qwerty keyboard windows phone) that was sold at the time. Then came the tilt2, oh that was an improvement but still had the freezes and sometimes sticky performance. But I needed the phone mostly for business functions so it worked just fine.

    Android… hmm let me explain. I am an IT Manager/Systems Administrator (makes sense now right :) A staff person asked me to configure his android to our exchange server and it worked but it lacked so much funcationality that it was just purely for emails only. My boss is an iPhone lover, so he wouldnt conform to the company supported windows phones. Well I configured his iphone to our Enterprise email server and even wiht the iphone4 he has now, the calendar sync and functions stink! They are not consistent and so he has to call his EA to get accurate schedules and verification of his appointments before he opens his mouth to committ to meetings while on the road (sad!).

    Windows Phone 7 has introduced a more consumer friendly feel while losing some of what I love in the business functions. Seems MS has taken a few bad habits from the iphone , but Juuuust a few. Overall I call it the iPhone killer :)

    I was sold on Zune (subsription based unlimited music), live tiles and the customized start screen (no just plain old icons, these are actual dynamic always updated hubs that bring information to you quickly, no more clicking deep to get the updates ), wireless syncing capabilities to my computer, CLOUD syncing photos, videos, contacts,and etc… (have I just removed the need to even have a backup applicaton on my phone… NICE!). I dont have to unlock my phone to take a picure… oh many other features!

    There are a lot of tech/geeky pluses that the average consumer will not know unless they get the device and use it. MS is not touting a lot of these good features and I only mentioned a few. Just know this…

    This phone is embracing dynamic data, both business and social, to be at your fingertips while leveraging cloud computing like no other mobile phone today. MS is giving 25GB of storage in the cloud via skydrive and has provided pretty much enterprise level email services to the public.

    On the flipside, MS removed some of the business functions that I miss BUT articles from MS are stating the updates to come will put some of them back (idiots shouldn’t have taken them off.. cut/paste are you killing me?) Anyway, the platform is amazing and is on the cusp of pure ecstacy!

    If you have a love for the iPhone and Android, thats fine… I don’t mind having the best kept secret :)

  22. Good Blogs guys, but I must say I am in awe of the new Windows Phone 7. I have had the phone for only a week and cannot seem to put it down! There are just too many perks to enjoy.

    I always had a bigger need for the windows mobile devices for business use first. Each time I tried a different mobile OS it just didn’t meet my business standards. I broke my windows mobile 6 phone at one point and went to AT&T to find a replacement. I was sold hands down on trying the iphone because if I didn’t like it, I could return it in 30 days. Needless to say, it didn’t make 24 hours with me! The inability to multitask was horrible! I was a heavy IM user and each time I went back to the main screen I was logged out. Oh I searched for apps and fixes and ran across jailbreaking and the such…aaah too much work! Furthermore for the basic functions I needed from a business perspective, I would have to buy the app. GEEZ! Oh it turned it in QUICK and got a HTC Fuze.

    The fuze was the only phone close to what I wanted (qwerty keyboard windows phone) that was sold at the time. Then came the tilt2, oh that was an improvement but still had the freezes and sometimes sticky performance. But I needed the phone mostly for business functions so it worked just fine.

    Android… hmm let me explain. I am an IT Manager/Systems Administrator (makes sense now right :) A staff person asked me to configure his android to our exchange server and it worked but it lacked so much functionality that it was just purely for emails only. My boss is an iPhone lover, so he wouldnt conform to the company supported windows phones. Well I configured his iphone to our Enterprise email server and even with the iphone4 he has now, the calendar sync and functions stink! They are not consistent and so he has to call his EA to get accurate schedules and verification of his appointments before he opens his mouth to commit to meetings while on the road (sad!).

    Windows Phone 7 has introduced a more consumer friendly feel while losing some of what I love in the business functions. Seems MS has taken a few bad habits from the iPhone , but Juuuust a few. Overall I call it the iPhone killer :)

    I was sold on Zune (subscription based unlimited music), live tiles and the customized start screen (no just plain old icons, these are actual dynamic always updated hubs that bring information to you quickly, no more clicking deep to get the updates ), wireless syncing capabilities to my computer, CLOUD syncing photos, videos, contacts, and etc… (have I just removed the need to even have a backup applicaton on my phone… NICE!). I don’t have to unlock my phone to take a picture… oh many other features!

    There are a lot of tech/geeky pluses that the average consumer will not know unless they get the device and use it. MS is not touting a lot of these good features and I only mentioned a few. Just know this…

    This phone is embracing dynamic data, both business and social, to be at your fingertips while leveraging cloud computing like no other mobile phone today. MS is giving 25GB of storage in the cloud via skydrive and has provided pretty much enterprise level email services to the public.

    On the flipside, MS removed some of the business functions that I miss BUT articles from MS are stating the updates to come will put some of them back (idiots shouldn’t have taken them off.. cut/paste are you killing me?) Anyway, the platform is amazing and is on the cusp of pure ecstasy!

    If you have a love for the iPhone and Android, that’s fine… I don’t mind having the best kept secret :)

  23. WP7 is a great system. Experience with Microsoft is very good. As per what is remaining in this OS, Microsoft will provide all of them. I am sure that WP 7 will surpass Android and Iphone sells in long run.
    All my best wishes to Microsoft

  24. vishal: How long a run are we talking here and would you like to bet money on that?

  25. I can bet on it.
    How abt u?
    Will you be able to???????????

  26. Hey Doug, if you keep taking these bets you may not be able to afford a new Droid, or WP7. Whatever.

  27. jimski: Noted… but when you mix gambling proclivity with fanboyism, .. I just can’t help it.

    vishal: I’m willing and able to bet you $50 that what you said is wrong, WP7 surpassing Android and iPhone sales in the long run; but for the sake of the bet, if you could throw out a date of what you mean by the long run, that would be appreciated. The sooner, the more excitement surrounding the bet, the longer, the more chance you have to win but also look like a chump for a long time when it becomes (or remains) obvious that you, like David K, are going to lose this bet real bad.

    He went with WP7 activations exceeding Android activations during the first quarter of next year for a fifty bucks. I’m willing to double up with a side bet with you for the same as what I’ve got with David or if you don’t share his optimism we can bump the timetable back. Or you can be a girly-man and back out.

  28. OK. Gentleman. It seems you are not ready to agreee for the furture.
    We will bet for time period.
    You expect WP7 to be a hit in a month???
    How long it took for Iphone and Android??
    I think you don’t have business look.

  29. Hay you,
    I already have Droid and a Iphone whom i call Ffone and want to dump them.
    Should I dump it to you with for free ??????
    You can make some money outof it….