updated 10:40 am EST, Tue December 21, 2010
Microsoft says 1.5 million WP7 phones sold
Microsoft on Tuesday finally addressed silence on Windows Phone 7 numbers and said its hardware partners shipped a combined 1.5 million phones over the past six weeks. It didn't say how many of those had been activated, however, suggesting a portion was unsold stock.
The company added that it now had over 4,000 apps in Windows Marketplace and over 18,000 developers. While still much smaller than most established mobile app stores, the growth is reportedly faster than Android and could lead it to have the third-largest store within a year, IDC added. At its current rate, it would grow larger than BlackBerry App World's current 15,000-app library but would still trail Apple and Google.
Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Corporate VP Achim Berg said in a company-staged interview that Microsoft acknowledged sales wouldn't challenge obvious rivals immediately.
"We know we have tough competition, and this is a completely new product," he argued. "We're in the race - it's not a sprint but we are certainly gaining momentum and we're in it for the long run."
While its shipment rate wasn't expected to compete with that of the iPhone or Android, WP7 has averted performance similar to the ill-fated Kin and is growing faster than the iPhone did when it launched over three years ago. It took roughly 2.5 months for Apple to reach its first million units and didn't pass 1.5 million until fall 2007. Microsoft has been helped both by a larger overall smartphone market, by selling around the world, as well as by having multiple hardware partners, focusing mostly on HTC, LG and Samsung.
Sales are likely to pick up in early 2011, when Sprint and Verizon come onboard and the second wave of WP7 phones is unveiled between CES and Mobile World Congress in February.