Microsoft's young smartphone platform is definitely in trouble. In spite of a splashy ad campaign to spur the Windows Phone 7 launch, rumors of poor sales won't go away. It doesn't help matters that a big hardware partner of WP7 publicly admits that sales of the company's phones have been disappointing. Can Microsoft right this ship?
The press started suspecting something wasn't right with Windows Phone 7 sales when Microsoft sidestepped the issue of sales numbers at the CES. Now one of Microsoft's largest hardware partners with the platform, LG, has admitted the company's disappointment with the push of WP7 into the market. That's about as bad as it gets for a platform builder like Microsoft.
LG's marketing strategy and planning team directory, James Choi, doesn't seem clear on what the problem is with WP7 adoption. "“For tech guys like us it might be a little bit boring after a week or two, but there are certain segments that it really appeals to. We strongly feel that it has a strong potential even though the first push wasn’t what everyone expected”.
Choi's statements show how difficult the task ahead is for Microsoft and it's hardware partners. WP7 is the flashiest mobile system Microsoft has ever produced, and yet it's perceived as boring by hardware partners.
Even though typical of smartphones today, Microsoft's hardware requirements for WP7 are apparently seen by LG as raising the bar too high for the market. “There is a lot of scepticism at the moment, but once Windows Phone 7 handsets that are mid-tier to low tier start appearing the market share will grow. Right now it’s only exclusively present in a high tier, because of its hardware requirements, and that’s limiting growth".
It seems that LG believes the future success of Windows Phone 7 lies in the bargain bin. That's not promising for a brand new platform, even one as pretty as WP7.