Microsoft: The iPhone envy is starting to show (already)

Microsoft: The iPhone envy is starting to show (already)

Summary: Microsoft said it will sell nearly 20 million Windows Mobile licenses in a letter designed to rally its smartphone partners. It's no coincidence that the pep talk comes just a few days before these the likely launch of Apple's 3G iPhone.

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Microsoft said it will sell nearly 20 million Windows Mobile licenses in a letter designed to rally its smartphone partners. It's no coincidence that the pep talk comes just a few days before these the likely launch of Apple's 3G iPhone.

Todd Bishop has the Windows Mobile pep talk, which is designed to steal a little iPhone thunder. Charles Cooper says it's quite a salute from Microsoft--perhaps the one finger variety.

Who can blame Microsoft? Apple will have all the buzz come Monday when CEO Steve Jobs delivers his latest sermon at WWDC (previews). And Windows Mobile developers will feel uncool--almost like the Vista guy in the Apple commercials.

Among the key excerpts fro Andy Lees, senior vice president of Microsoft's mobile business:

This fiscal year we will sell nearly 20 million Windows Mobile smartphone licenses, making Windows Mobile one of the most widely used smartphone software platforms in the world. We also sold more in the previous four quarters than RIM, and in the last quarter our year-over-year unit growth alone was greater than sales of Apple's iPhone.

Translation: Windows Mobile has traction. Don't go chasing the shiny new object. And oh by the way we thought we'd top 20 million licenses.

To our 50 handset makers building phones with our software, thank you. With your help, we give Windows Mobile customers nearly 150 different phone choices -- from phones with full keyboards to brilliant touch screens to convenient flip phones -- with rich email, picture and music experiences. You've delivered Windows Mobile phones with features like GPS, 3+ megapixel cameras, and voice activation -- features that other operating systems have been slow to deliver.

Translation: Boy it irks us that Apple generates all this iPhone buzz.

To all our developer partners who continue to innovate and bring new experiences to people and businesses every day, thank you. It is because of you that our Windows Mobile customers have the richest application catalog to choose from -- over 18,000 applications to help pursue their hobbies, navigate life and work more efficiently. We're happy to offer some of these applications through the Windows Mobile Owners Circle and provide you the flexibility to deliver them to your customers in whatever way makes sense. Today, more and more competitors are jumping into the smartphone market or announcing upgrades, with features we delivered to customers years ago...

Translation: We interrupt Apple's App Store announcement to thump our chests about our own apps.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Software, Smartphones, Operating Systems, Mobility, Mobile OS, Microsoft, iPhone, Windows

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62 comments
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  • Why should they not disclose

    I'm actually shocked by you guys meaning that they (Microsoft) disclosing licenses sold means they envy the iphone. They might envy it in a way but they disclosing those figures doesn't tell that.

    Companies disclose the amount of products or services sold and the there is no restriction as to when they do that because of another product.

    Apple for example advertises it's products and bashes Windows with the Mac v PC but I can tell you that it doesn't mean Windows envy is showing.

    I think you guys should try and tell stories as they are and be more serious.
    celeriun@...
    • It's the timing.

      It doesn't take a genius to figure it out.
      frgough
  • Microsoft is envious of 4 million units a year?

    The company selling 20 million units a year is totally envious of the company selling 4 million units a year. Uh huh.

    I know that Apple didn't make up the statistic that they were #2 in the smartphone market (too lazy to see where they got their stat from) but it is now obvious that this stat is in the same league as "66% of all computers sold are Macs". Then it turns out that it was 66% of all computers costing more than $1,000 that were manufactured by major US companies and sold in major US brick-and-mortar stores. I wonder if their definition of "smartphone" was: [i]a phone sold in the US by RIM, Apple, or Palm[/i]? If so, I could understand how they could have placed Apple at #2.
    NonZealot
    • Apple makes $200 a phone.

      MS makes $15 a license. You'd be annoyed, too.
      frgough
    • For once, you're not completely wrong.

      Of course, you're spouting half-truths.

      Apple sold 5.7 million iPhones in the first year: That's
      nearly 50% more than the 4 million figure you made up.
      You're only off by half; that's pretty good, considering your
      apparent disdain for fact.

      Microsoft is forecasting that it [b]will sell[/b] 20 million,
      not stating that it [b]has[/b] sold 20 million. Again, you
      were close; if it weren't for that pesky word, 'forecasting.'
      Unfortunately for your credibility (huh), forecasting isn't
      the same as reality.
      msalzberg
      • My mistake

        I was factoring in that nearly 2 million iPhones can't be accounted for but if Apple says 5.7 million then I'm okay with that. And true enough, the 20 million number is a forecast, I believe 16 million was the amount [b]actually[/b] sold last year.

        So, even with me underestimating iPhone sales and overestimating WM sales, I still think reports of WM's demise are grossly exaggerated considering:
        [i]We also sold more in the previous four quarters than RIM, and in the last quarter [b]our year-over-year unit growth alone was greater than sales of Apple?s iPhone[/b][/i].

        In other words, [b]actual sales[/b] (not forecasts) show that more WM phones were sold than RIM (and remember, RIM is the #1 smartphone seller according to Jobs) and the [b]growth[/b] of WM phone sales surpassed the [b]entire[/b] sales of the iPhone. WM sales are accelerating at a pace faster than gross iPhone sales! If Apple sold 2 million iPhones last quarter, Microsoft sold whatever it sold last year [b]plus[/b] more than 2 million extra phones!

        With that in mind, I still don't see why MS should be envious of Apple but then again, Apple fans seem to use odd metrics for judging superiority. iPod is the best because it sells the most but that doesn't apply to Windows. OS X is the best because Apple's stock has grown more than Microsoft's in the last 10 years although that is more because Apple nearly went bankrupt and MS never has. iPhone is the best because Apple makes $200 profit per sale but Vista is terrible because MS makes $400 profit per sale. I'm sure it all makes sense to you guys but to people who prefer logical, consistent rules, I have to admit that it is all terribly confusing. :)
        NonZealot
        • Just out of interest...

          At what price point did Microsoft shift those phones? Since
          the iPhone came out our phone company has been hitting us
          with high spec'd free phones for our business.
          jgpmolloy
        • Love it

          for the same reason I love the latest Apple Mac vs PC commercials.

          "I still don't see why MS should be envious of Apple but
          then again, Apple fans seem to use odd metrics for
          judging superiority."

          It's not just Apple fans talking. iPod, Macs, Mac OS X and
          iPhone are wonderful products which show considerable
          innovation, refinement and beauty.

          MS sells multiples of Apple in most markets, spends USD8
          billion per year on R&D and yet it is Apple that MS copies
          (that is when they actually produce something).

          Apple has never been about "good enough", the MS
          mantra. MS envies Apple because Apple does what MS
          talks about doing.
          Richard Flude
          • Ha ha ha, brainwashed Apple fanboys are hilarious!

            Hey man I simply couldn't stop laughing at this comment from you (Richard)...
            "iPod, Macs, Mac OS X and iPhone are wonderful products which show considerable innovation, refinement and beauty."

            Mate I am still rolling on the floor in laughter...you guys talk about people defending Microsoft as drinking too much kool aid! I just have to say you seriously need to see a psychiatrist because to you anything which looks pretty is worth buying, no need to worry if it's any good!

            MacBook Air and iPhone are innovative, refined and beautiful!??? Ha ha ha....I?ll give you that they are 'pretty' but that?s about it!

            Seriously dude if you absolutely enjoy style over substance then that's your serious loss and Apple's marketing brainwashing hard at work.

            You Apple fanboys refer to your fantasy that "MS Copies" all the time. Well here is the actual Apple mantra from an ex Apple Marketing exec -

            "Never be First to Market - Make something good greater". So in other words copy, copy, copy and improve! No different to Sony, Microsoft, Nokia or any other large enterprise.

            Here is the full text (his words not mine) -

            Make something good greater.
            IMPROVE THE WORLD.

            Conventional wisdom says being first to market is advantageous and that Apple is a leader in creating new categories. Conventional wisdom is wrong on both counts.

            Apple has never really invented anything new.

            They didn?t invent the PC, the MP3 player, downloadable music, and certainly not the mobile phone. The Mac, iPod, iTunes and iPhone are all successful because they were late to market and improved on existing designs and functionality. Apple does one thing very well: making complex things easy and elegant.

            The iPod is successful because it makes getting your music into your pocket dead simple. Apple took existing MP3 player designs and applied their experience and technology to improve it. Plug your iPod in its cradle and it takes care of moving your music to your iPod, organized the same way it is on your computer. You?re done (and your iPod is charged at the same time - bonus!)

            Other MP3 players are still trying to catch up with this elegant brilliance. On the other hand, Apple?s Newton tried to carve out a whole new category - Portable Digital Assistants - and failed miserably. Even the Mac improved on Apple?s Lisa. Just ask Steve.

            IPOD DOESN?T MAKE THE
            MUSIC SOUND BETTER.

            As an Apple employee and engineer by trade expecting a miracle in 1997 (when the company was near bankruptcy) I was let down when I first saw the iMac. On paper it was no better a computer than the Performa it replaced so we promoted it as the easiest way to get on the Internet. That marketing saved the company, not better technology. Today, the iPod doesn?t make your music sound better, provide better battery life, or save you money, What it does is make Apple fans.

            http://www.slideshare.net/lassey02/marketing-apple-e-book?order=2

            This eBook courtesy of Steve Chazin, former Apple, Inc. sales and marketing executive.
            Martin_Australia
          • Funny

            "I just have to say you seriously need to see a psychiatrist
            because to you anything which looks pretty is worth
            buying, no need to worry if it's any good!"

            Wow you picked up on one of the three compliments
            raised. Nicely done.

            "I?ll give you that they [Mac Air and iPhone] are 'pretty' but
            that?s about it!"

            So you see no innovation in the iPhone's multi-touch
            interface? No innovation in a product that much of the
            market is now rushing to emulate?

            "They didn?t invent the PC, the MP3 player, downloadable
            music, and certainly not the mobile phone."

            True but they brought together a PC, MP3 player and
            music download service in such a way that made them an
            enormous success.

            "Apple does one thing very well: making complex things
            easy and elegant."

            Right by INNOVATION. Presumably you believe this
            happens magically.

            "Even the Mac improved on Apple?s Lisa. Just ask Steve."

            And I'll point out to you and Chazin that Apple created the
            Lisa (perhaps you didn't know). I'm amazed at the
            ignorance of the MS fanboy (and it seems ex-Apple
            employees).
            Richard Flude
  • Ballmer needs to go...

    The problem with Microsoft is they lack vision and the ability to innovate. The blame has to fall somewhere, and I lay that blame on Steve Ballmer. You just can't copy, buy out or steal technologies developed by other companies and expect to be successful with poor imitations.

    This guy says it better than I ever could. Check out his 11 reasons why Ballmer should go and how bad he is and has been for Microsoft: http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2317347,00.asp
    gtdworak
    • Balmer

      Didn't Balmer laugh at the notion that the iphone could be successful?

      He clearly doesn't have a feel for the market.
      Tigertank
      • Seems to know the market better than Apple!!

        Microsoft: 20 million smartphones
        Apple: 4 million smartphones

        Who knows the market better again? :)
        NonZealot
        • Microsoft sells phones?

          kind of like counting the number of Macs sold versus the number of total PCs sold worldwide running windows.

          OK, so all WMD combined clearly outsell iPhones.
          Windows mobile devices (in some capacity) have been selling for nearly a decade, and the iphone comes out and takes over 20% of the market in less than a year?

          I would say MS should be very concerned.
          Tigertank
          • Apple sells OSs?

            Funny how the Apple ads constantly compare OS X to Vista but then we are told that Apple doesn't sell OSs, they sell entire systems. Oh well, if it makes you feel any better, the combination of MS and its hardware partners are selling units at a rate [b]far[/b] above what Apple is able to do alone. That is undeniable.

            [i]the iphone comes out and takes over 20% of the market in less than a year?
            I would say MS should be very concerned.[/i]

            Yeah, I'm sure they are concerned considering WM sales are growing faster than gross iPhone sales:
            [i]our year-over-year unit growth alone was greater than sales of Apple?s iPhone.[/i]

            It is true that WM phones have been selling for much longer than the iPhone (gee, makes one wonder why everything is an iPhone killer instead of a WM killer, more brilliant Apple astro-turfing) but the fact is that this is a market that is just starting to explode in growth. MS, Palm, and Nokia are to be credited for building the base and Apple came in very late (as usual) to ride on the coattails of others. Smart, don't get me wrong, but is it worrisome? Not until Apple starts taking marketshare away from MS and considering the sales figures, MS is growing far, far, far faster than Apple is. :)
            NonZealot
          • Deniable

            "Oh well, if it makes you feel any better, the combination
            of MS and its hardware partners are selling units at a rate
            far above what Apple is able to do alone. That is
            undeniable."

            Actually the [b]rate[/b] at which computer units are sold is
            much higher w/ Apple; in fact, the Apple's Mac sales
            growth has been above the market's rate for over a year.
            That's why Apple is showing market share growth. For total
            unit count, yes, MS/PC sells more, but then again
            that's one company vs. half-dozen major PC sellers in a
            market iMS has dominated for over 20 years.

            So your point is quite [i]deniable[/i].

            Plus, let's not forget this undeniable fact. Apple, a
            company built on computers, has built and sold its first
            mobile phone [u]only[/u] one year ago. Nokia, Samsung,
            Motorola, Sony Ericsson and even Microsoft have been in
            the market for years, decades. How Apple could cause
            such a stir as to change the phone market strategy &
            designs, fill blogs, [i]and[/i] cause Microsoft to pull PR
            stunts like this speaks volumes to the impact of the
            iPhone...it goes well beyond just looking at immediate
            sales numbers!

            /
            pairof9s
          • re:Apple sells OSs?

            " (gee, makes one wonder why everything is an iPhone killer
            instead of a WM killer, more brilliant Apple astro-turfing)"

            Except it isn't Apple doing the astroturfing... It is all the
            other companies press releases and the general press using
            the phrase iPhone killer.
            jgpmolloy
          • iPod Killer

            It just so happens that Microsoft's PR is mostly responsible
            for the term "iPod Killer" and the headlines and newswire
            submissions.
            Dmann9
          • What the bottom-line?

            Where's the profit? Whoops that's right there is none.
            SquishyParts
        • one company

          Erm ... doesn't the letter thank their 50
          handset makers? That averages to just
          .4 million per maker. :)
          Partners in Grime