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More WP7 Sales Chatter

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 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.


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