Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) licensees have shipped a combined 1.5 million Windows Phone 7-powered gadgets to carriers during the first six weeks of the platform's availability, a Microsoft executive said. The figure--which represents phones on store shelves and not phones sold to end users--is the first official indication of the progress of Microsoft's revamped efforts in mobile, and reflects the support of heavyweights including LG, Samsung and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T).
"Sales are ramping well as our reputation is growing for offering users a unique experience and are in line with our expectations--especially when compared to other new platform introductions," said Achim Berg, Microsoft's vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, in a post on Microsoft's website. "We know we have tough competition, and this is a completely new product. 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."
Windows Phone 7 devices from LG, Samsung and HTC went on sale in Europe and the Asia Pacific region Oct. 21 and in the United States and Canada Nov. 8. AT&T and T-Mobile USA were the first U.S. carriers to offer the devices, and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) are expected to launch Windows Phone 7 devices sometime next year.
Microsoft's Berg also said the company counts more than 4,000 Windows Phone 7 applications from around 18,000 participating developers.
"The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace reaching 4,000 apps two months after launch has to be one of the most rapid rampups in recent times, reaching this milestone faster than Android, which took from October 2008 to March 2009 to reach about the same level," Al Hilwa, an analyst with research firm IDC, wrote in a Dec. 19 research note, according to eWeek.
Despite the initial success, propelled by a major marketing campaign rumored to cost around $1 billion, Microsoft remains in the back of the smartphone pack. According to comScore, Microsoft's share of the U.S. smartphone market was approximately 10 percent in October, down from around 20 percent in October 2009. (Those numbers represent ownership of devices running Microsoft's now-legacy Windows Mobile platform.) In the meantime, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform grew from around 3 percent share to almost 24 percent share over the same period. Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry sat in the No. 1 position in October with around 36 percent market share, according to comScore.
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