49 Comments

Summary:

With Microsoft staying mum on Windows Phone 7 sales, it’s difficult to say if the platform is doing as badly as analysts think. Data from Chitika suggests it is however: Ad impressions on Microsoft’s new phones are less than one percent of total impressions.

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Microsoft’s smartphone strategy isn’t yet paying off in terms of sales, market share or user adoption, at least not from any measurable statistics, which are far and few between. The company hasn’t offered even the slightest hint at sales figures for handsets running its new Windows Phone 7 operating system. But by looking at statistics outside of Microsoft and retail channels, we can at least get a glimpse of how Windows Phone 7 is doing.

Chitika released data late last night showing Windows Phone 7 activity on its advertising network is barely measurable. In a blog post, Chitika, which serves more than a billion ads monthly across 100,000 websites, says for every one network ad impression on a Windows Phone 7 handset, it sees 110 impressions from Android phones and 172 from iPhones. These results are from the prior three weeks and incorporate handset data from more than 31 million ad impressions during that time.

Clearly, any new smartphone platform won’t initially compete with strong-selling incumbents, so we can’t read into this limited data too much. But at a minimum, it lends credence to rumors and grumblings that Windows Phone 7 devices may not be selling well just yet, and it provides a nice baseline for future research.

Early analyst projections indicated that 40,000 Windows Phone 7 handsets were sold on the initial launch day last month. The devices are only available on two of the four major carriers in the U.S., which also limits potential sales, and Dell is facing production delays for one Windows Phone 7 model. And although it’s the holiday season, I’ve never seen price cuts and “buy one, get one” free offers for any handset system so quickly before now, yet I’ve recently noticed several such deals for the one-month old platform.

The main problem for Windows Phone 7 may not be in marketing and availability, however. Although the platform has a refreshing user interface that differs greatly from competitors, my hands-on experience shows that Microsoft still has much room for improvement in Windows Phone 7. Some standard features on competing phones won’t be arriving on Microsoft handsets until next year, for example. And by comparison, the Windows Marketplace app store is lacking, even though a large number of developers say they’re interested in the platform; in recent surveys, 20 percent of programmers plan to code apps for Windows Phone 7 next year, which is the same number planning to make iPad apps.

To be sure, Windows Phone 7 has a long road ahead of it, and Microsoft appears committed to the journey. Handset sales are expected to overtake traditional computer sales by 2012 and Microsoft can’t afford to stay out of this market so it’s likely to follow the same strategy it has with its Xbox: keep pouring money into the effort until it finally becomes profitable. Early data, however, suggests that Microsoft could be traveling down this path for many years to come with Windows Phone 7.

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  1. Only fanboys can tell a platform will fail or succeed now. See the statistics, the smartphone market itself is in its childhood days.If a fanboy thinks that they can make someone fail or succeed just by posting some bad or good comments, it will be childish and immature.Those days are gone where some blogger fanboy used to comment badly bashing some product can turn the balance sheet numbers of a company. Intention is either fanboyism or they think it will save their jobs. People who read these comments know who all these people are and what their vested interest is why they write blogs.

    I have been a iPhone user for long term, Android user for short term and now a Windows Phone 7 Samsung Focus user. I liked all the three devices. But if you ask, which one is better value proposition without doubt I would say Windows Phone 7. I dont think one needs much knowledge to say which one is better. I see in a year or so WP7 taking a sizeable market share . Only thing that can change this is if others come up with something new and solid like WP7, So as a consumer its good to have competition. The future looks equally bleak for all three. There are some stregths and weakness for everyone. I love to hate Microsoft, but just not taking any fanboy comments at facevalue, I could see Microsoft as the one who is in adominant position even in smartphone segment with there marginal market share now. Followed by Google and Apple. Cloud presence and bank balance makes all difference ,since a long term player in this domain will ultimately emerge as the winner. Being said that I think even Amazon and facebook like companies are second to none and forces to be reckoned with since we dont know what there plans are. Only time will tell. If you take a shorter term perspective Facebook and Amazon like companies where more innovative than any of this mega size players.

    At the end of the day what these junkies write doesnt matter . Take Microsoft itself , there is no other company which is bashed by fan boys thru the media. But still Windows 7, Kinect , Bing all are mega dollar success in itself. True that they had failed in KIN, Courier etc. Same is the case with Apple or google. They had their own failed products , But then there are iPhones , google search etc. So the more you experiment or fail with small projects, Fundamentaly these companies are getting into a stronger position to compete.Its not a good yardstick to measure the success or failure looking at failed projects which are of peanuts to these companies. Kincet and Bing are better examples here. See the market share they had initially and how they quickly learned and captured a fare share.
    Pretty sure same is going to be with WP7, from the fanboy comments and concerns itself you could easily understand that WP7 had started kicking butts of Droids and iPhone. But this doesnt mean that they had won. Its upto Droids and iPhone to come up with something compelling to compete with WP7.

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    1. You have not listed a single good reason why WP7 will dominate the mobile world or catch up to iphone/android platform.

      As of right now, WP7 is scrambling to catch up to its android and iphone rivals, if you can call them rivals. Both iphone and android are coming out with killer app everyday, WP7 still waiting on Cut and Paste….

      If anything, it’s up to WP7 to show they are good enough to stand on equal grounds with android and iphone.

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      1. Actually – I thought he was spot on – he at least has clearly USED all 3 platforms a reasonable amount. SO have I and they DO all have strengths. THe cut and paste thing is so stupid. Only 1 in 100 users ever use it – literally – that is the number. And the other platforms took longer to add it than Microsoft is going to. The number of apps and desire to develop is a more serious issue. BUt it does look like Microsoft has drawn about level in terms of intention to develop although has a long way to go in app numbers.

        In terms of usefulness – the message around being able to get things done faster and get back to the real world – Microsoft has got it spot on. Windows Phone 7 is the best email platform of all four (counting RIM who are still ahead of iphone and android in email). IT has the best enterprise integration. It is much faster to do everyday tasks. The facebook integration is cool. IT is MORE intuitive than the iphone – that one was a big surprise.

        It is behind for range of apps and it is behind for web browsing.

        I’m pretty sure no conclusion can be drawn about sales for at least a full year – that’s about the time it takes for sales to ramp no matter what.

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      2. The point about cut and paste is the fact that it should been built-in to WP7 from the start, not released later as a patch. It doesn’t matter if only 1 out of 100 user ever use it, it’s a function that every one expect to have on the phone in 2010. That’s why I mentioned WP7 is catching up to the other platforms rather than leading the other platforms.

        Also, no offense to you guys, is there any actual proof that you guys have USED all three platforms for a reasonable amount of time? Just because we have opinion on all three platforms is good indication of usage of all 3? Is 1 month usage of WP7 a good reasonable amount of time to form a good opinion on the platform as a whole?

        All in all, the data is the data, and it shows WP7 not doing well RIGHT NOW. That’s the bottom line. Who can say what happens down the road, maybe it goes to the kin route, maybe it become a mega success like xbox 360. Until we have more hard data, there is no point in talking about how well the WP7 will do.

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      3. Its official : Over 1.5m Windows Phone 7 sales in first 6 weeks confirms Microsoft.

        Please tell your take “WP7 is scrambling ?” . Even a school boy who had used all the platforms could straight away tell WP7 is superior as of now. I dont know about future, but right now it looks like Android not even comparable and iPhone comparable on some fronts but altogether WP7 is much much superior in UI framework, Gaming etc etc. Only comparable thing I could find is Marketplace and quality of build with iPhone. Yes iPhone marketplace is better, but we get better quality apps in WP7. Quality of build is very much comparable to iPhone.

        But I am stuck with my iPhone since I cant expect regular updates, but I hear from MS that update framework is solid and will get updates freely. Which makes it easier for them to compete now.

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    2. Head on over to PreCentral.net and look at what those fanboys say today and ever since the Pre was announced. You sound exactly like them with only differences in details. I loved the OS and thought it had a host of advantages, yet I knew it was dead on arrival. Of course, Pre fanboys will still tell you its “too early to tell.”

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      1. You are just made a deathwish as an iPhone or Android fan

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  2. What a epic fail for Microsoft, I know I totally expected them to sell 50 million WP7 devices in the span of a couple months… Guess they just can’t compete and are doomed :P

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    1. Ballmer didn’t boast they’d sell 50 million devices. He actually only boasted they’ll sell 30 million devices in the first year.

      Now that sales have collapsed, Microsoft won’t even reach the 3 million mark with Windows Phone 7. Yes, it’s an epic fail.

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      1. I think you missed the sarcasm in Ben’s post

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  3. With the exception of the new info re ad impressions, nothing in this article hasn’t been said elsewhere more than a month ago – and much of THAT has been discounted. The 40,000 sales number was determined from an unnamed source who received it from an unnamed source, etc., and it has been repeated by bloggers across the internet who are too lazy to check it out. Would anyone be surprised to learn that web traffic for a new OS is less than that for two well-established OSes? Is that news? Does it matter? You could easily replace Windows Phone 7 with Android and you’d have a perfectly accurate article from a couple of years ago. Look at Android now! Instead of focusing on the features that WP7 lacks, it’d be great if writers would focus on how much features really matter to folks actually using the phone, how their phone experience is overall, and how interested people might be in using the phone as it matures. Features are features, but not all features are dealbreakers. After all, spellcheck is a feature that exists on even the most rudimentary word processor, and yet the author spells the word “incumbent” with an “a”.

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    1. You are expecting too much from bloggers.

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  4. Microsoft should just drop out of the portable media world.

    The Zune was a relative flash in the pan for MS and was at no point able to hold a candle to the iPod’s success.

    As far as phones, Windows mobile has been around since before Apple or Google’s devices and all but vanished once competition showed up.

    When it comes to mobile, Microsoft has never been anything but a bargain brand or ‘corporate approved’ name.

    Look at Google insights and compare android, windows phone, blackberry, ipad and windows mobile. Microsoft is throwing stones at the competitions’ aircraft carriers.

    I predict that 12 months from now Google’s market cap surpasses Microsofts.

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  5. Give it a year or two, let it get its necessary updates and marketing to kick in and you’ll quickly see it on #2 spot close next to Android. Why, because RIM is dying fast, iPhone peaked out, Android will probably sustain its market share. It will be a duel between Windows Phone 7 and Android in near future. Microsoft really knows how to put their weight right behind something when they really mean it.

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  6. There are over 80M Android phones out there. 110:1 ratio between Android and WP7 would imply 700K+ WP7 phones out there. That’s actually more than most people have been speculating (cluelessly).

    Comparing the install base of Android and iphone against WP7 which is 5 weeks old and not even fully launched is plain silly. You need to focus on the market share of new phones being sold. Some app sales statistics suggest about a half is sold in the US. That makes it 700K/2 = 350K for one month for AT&T and Tmobile combined. That’s about 1M/quarter. AT&T and Tmobile sold only about 2.5M Android phones last quarter. Not too shabby for WP7. And the highly anticipated Dell’s Venue Pro for Tmobile hasn’t even launched in volume.

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    1. Do you have a source for your claim of “over 80M Android phones out there”?

      I think this is a ridiculous claim. Total iPhone sales is about 75M (source: Wikipedia). Considering that not all units are sold to new users (people replace their old iPhone), there are much less than 75M iPhones “out there” (you still see people using iPhone EDGE? No). Now, there is NO way the total number of Android phones sold surpassed the total number of iPhone sold as we speak. Not even close. So it is impossible there are currently 80M Android phones out there.

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  7. [...] morning (Dec. 16, 2010), I read a post by Kevin C. Tofel, saying “Web Data Shows Windows Phone 7 Barely a Blip on the Radar”. Mr. Tofel [...]

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  8. I think it is pretty clear that most potential WP7 uesrs are patiently waiting for the hardware they want to arrive on the carrier they want. Unlike iPhone, WP7 is advertised to eventually be everywhere. Until all carriers are in, don’t look for large sales.

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    1. Just wait until Nokia, whose CEO is an ex-MS guy, get their hands on the new Intel Atom System on a Chip. It will make the N900 look like an old XT.

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  9. Wp7 is almost ad free, which is a good thing for the users. I don’t want to see the ads everywhere on my phone.

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  10. In the future can you put a little bit more effort into research and try to gather data from a few other orgs to actually build a solid argument/claim that WP7 is bombing based on web access stats.

    At a minimum a comment like, “I have inquiries into Admob, Millennial Media and Facebook, to see what their traffic shows for WP7 browsing share…” would go a long way in feeling that you didnt just jump on a bit of press nonsense from an ad/analytics shop, do a quick search to see what others have been saying for past couple weeks and spit out few paragraphs to make sure GigaOm was the first site today to have headline about WP7 being a failure.

    Chitika thanks you for the free PR

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