Microsoft Puts Mobile On Mute In Earnings

Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Series

Sales of the Kinect have swiped away all expectations, and Office is still going strong, but mobile was conspicuously absent in Microsoft’s otherwise strong earnings report today.

In a statement released by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) ahead of the earnings call, Microsoft’s only mention of its mobile devices was the most basic of growth reports: “Windows Phone 7 launched during the quarter in 30 countries and on 60 operators and nine different devices,” it read. “Microsoft announced developers are adding Windows Phone 7 applications to the marketplace at a rate of over 100 per day.”

Tablets were even less of a topic. No mention of what Microsoft might be developing itself, and only a passing reference to “newer portables” “cause a bit of a drag” on PC sales.

We had got a bit more colour on handsets yesterday, when senior product manager Greg Sullivan told AllThingsD that Microsoft had shipped two million devices to resellers between launching the device in October last year and the end of December.

But gven that at the beginning of December Microsoft had noted that it had shipped 1.5 million devices, that means that during the holiday season, there were only 500,000 devices shipped — not necessarily sold. Contrast this with Google’s claim that Android is now activating 300,000 Android devices per day.

HTC, LG (SEO: 066570), Samsung and Dell all make handsets that run the Windows Phone 7 platform, but we have yet to see a breakout device among them.

Some are now wondering — not for the first time — if help could be on the way in the form of another titan that has been having a hard time in mobile, Nokia.

Today, ahead of its earnings call, Nokia announced that it would be holding a strategy day on February 11 to lay out how it plans to turn around its device and services business.

In the earnings call, Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, who came to Nokia from Microsoft, noted how “We need an attitudinal shift within Nokia (NYSE: NOK). We need to operate as the challenger in this market. This means we must improve the quality of our execution, accelerate the speed at which we execute and enhance the effectiveness of our partnerships.”

Could one of those partnerships be with Microsoft, another company ripe for an attitudinal shift in mobile?

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