Microsoft has unexpectedly broken the silence over sales of its new Windows Phone 7 handsets to announce that over 1.5 million were sold to mobile operators and retailers during the first six weeks of availability.
Achim Berg, Microsoft’s vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, broke the news as part of a broader Q&A on the Microsoft News Center website:
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. With a new platform you have to look at a couple of things, first of all customer satisfaction. As I mentioned before, we’ve seen great response on the complete mobile phone experience.
Another is phone manufacturer sales – phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers. We are pleased that phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks, which helps build customer momentum and retail presence.
Note that the figure quoted here is stock shifted from manufacturers to retailers, and NOT handsets sold to consumers.
LET ME REPEAT THAT - THIS 1.5 MILLION FIGURE DOES NOT REPRESENT SALES OF WP7 HANDSETS, ONLY STOCK SHIFTED FROM MANUFACTURERS. Actual sales figures will be lower than this. How low? Well, maybe there's a reason Microsoft decided to be coy about the figures.
When asked how sales stacked up compared to the competition, Berg had this to say:
It’s a bit of apples and oranges comparison; our numbers are similar to the performance of other first generation mobile platforms. We introduced a new platform with Windows Phone 7, and when you do that it takes time to educate partners and consumers on what you’re delivering, and drive awareness and interest in your new offering. We’re comfortable with where we are, and we are here for the long run; Windows Phone 7 is just the beginning.
That's a good, solid start for a new platform.