Windows Phone 7 Limps Out of Gate

Windows Phone 7 is officially on sale to consumers, and the early returns have to be a little disappointing for Microsoft. The Street is reporting that a market research source that tracks phone sales estimated that about 40,000 phones were sold on Nov. 8, the first day of availability.

It doesn't help that Microsoft has mostly kept quiet since then about sales figures for the successor to its Windows Mobile platform, leading to more speculation of lagging sales. For example, at its most recent shareholder meeting Tuesday, CEO Steve Ballmer refused to cite sales numbers for the phone. Microsoft is "off to a great start with Windows Phone 7," Ballmer was quoted as saying, adding that "it marks the beginning, we think, of a new era in smart phones. The response has been really fantastic," said Ballmer.

He had no reservations about touting the figures for Kinect, the new motion controller for its Xbox 360 game system, however. The stark difference in treatment between the two products has only added to the speculation about Windows Phone 7's lukewarm reception by the market.

It's much too premature to pronounce the new phone doomed, however. The Christmas shopping frenzy is almost here, and Microsoft worked hard to get the phone out in time for shoppers to pounce. In addition, Microsoft has built a healthy developer ecosystem around Windows Phone, one of the keys to a mobile platform's success. According to the site FierceDeveloper, more than 12,000 developers had registered with Microsoft to get their apps into the store.

Microsoft remains far behind chief smartphone rivals Apple and Google, with the iOS and Android platforms currently dominating the market and expected to continue the domination into the future. But you have to start somewhere, and this is just the start for Microsoft. The market for smartphones is huge and growing, with room for more devices. If Microsoft can get some momentum with a plethora of solid apps behind it, it could make inroads in a hurry.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 Optional Optional

I won't buy a phone until someone released one with a Linux OS. Then I know I won't be paying for M/S marketing hype.

Fri, Nov 26, 2010

I must say I find it ridiclous that iphone users are so quick to insult the windows 7 phone when some have not even picked one up. I do not agree, nor disagree that the windows phone is better than the iphone. Personally, I find the iphone more difficult to navigate and it works great, but it just has those same boring icons as most phones. I am impressed with the windows phone layout and was immediately able to navigate quickly through it the first time I used it. It's a matter of preference. Everytime I mention something about my windows phone, the closest iphone user is so quick to defend their phone and pull it out (this is without me mentioning the iphone). Why is this? I love how some iphone users say "oh there's no competition"...Okay...then why do they feel the need to defend their phone so much? makes no sense to me.

Wed, Nov 24, 2010

I am a iPhone user, and have to admit that although my iPhone is great, it wasn't long ago I was wishing it could copy & paste, do some form of multitasking and supported AVCRP for Bluetooth! Microsoft will have copy and paste available shortly, and I have no doubt will include other big features like multitasking within the next year. Slate WP7 if it doesn't include more features by this time year!

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 jamal

Well... Iphone fans screaming disagree with any positive tone about Windows Phone 7. What are you guys afraid of?

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 Business

I work for a small company in the north, we recently upgraded all of our phones in the company. We decided to let the employees choose (who all had blackberries) between an Iphone or a windows 7 device. not sure what it is about the iphone, but it is what they all wanted, so we ended up purchasing 23 Iphones and 9 Ipads. One of the best purchases we have made, I now i can see why people like the Iphone. They where worlds easier to set up than our blackberries and the windows phones we had previous to the blackberries has tons of problems. Sorry Microsoft, probably won't be seeing our business for a while.

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 Steve

So steve, how are windows 7 phone sales going??? Steve: Oh, ya, great... did I mention we sold a million kinect devices!!!! What a fool, as long as that dudes at the helm Microsoft is screwed

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 John

IOS 4.2 updated today, Free Iphone Locator, Airprint wireless printing, airplay to sling music and video to your TV. Awesome new features, Windows 7 doesn't even have copy and paste. Microsoft sold crap on phones for a loooonnnnnnggggg time, now they think 100 million in adverting is going to fix that?? Don't be stupid, if anything wait a while to buy a windows 7 phone and see if it will even still be in around in a couple years. Don't forget this is the same company who bailed on cell phones last few years and claimed the iphone would be a flop

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 Joe

Windows 7 phone = Fail

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 pitbull

I would not buy a Windows Phone purely on the reputation of their past Phone Os's. They will have to prove to the main stream that they have a good OS this time around, Especially with android and Apple's IOS which are both outstanding. Years worth a selling sub par products (mainly Windows) is what will bite microsoft in the ass

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 Tom

Maybe some of you can help me understand: Objectively speaking what is it specifically that some people believe makes this a bad phone? Maybe it doesn't appeal to some, okay I get that,, and yes there are certain 'things' missing AT THIS TIME, but that doesn't make it a bad phone.

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 Hello

Look at all the Astro-Turf! Does Microsoft actually think we believe all these positive posts?

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 Tom

WinPhone7 is an excellent platform and I can't imagine why anyone would refer to it as a failure. From a user point of view it is fast, easy and a real pleasure to use. From a developer perspective, we find writing apps for it far more straightforward (and enjoyable actually) than other platforms. The tools are just unparalled and fantastic.

Mon, Nov 22, 2010

I had an Iphone 3gs and dumped it for a htc hd7. Oh, am I glad I did. 1. It's faster, 2. It's really easy to learn. 3. It's screen is fantastic. 4. It makes a great book reader. 5. It is a great way to watch a movie while waiting on things. 5. It has a radio to listen to my morning show. 6. it... you get the point... I picked up my iphone this morning and wondered how I ever put up with it.

Sun, Nov 21, 2010 Mike

The fact that there is hardly a negative word makes me believe that there is some underhanded editing in this site... I bought an HTC Surround from BestBuy (I am not stupid enough to buy from AT&T when they cannot/don't want answer any technical questions about the phone and charge a 15% restocking fee if the thing is a piece of junk). I kept it for exactly 2.5 days and returned it with a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps, had I not been a Windows Mobile user for the past decade, I might have missed how much MS dumped its current user base. As it is, this phone is a flop for anyone who is not a Social Network sycophant or who does not use it for business purposes. I will not go into the specifics, but, from the perpsective of a long time Windows mobile user, this phone is an utter and complete failure. From a technical point of view, I also cannot imagine how this platform can succeed. This is the Windows Me of phones, as far as I am concerned.

Sun, Nov 21, 2010

My best friend just got his Samsung Focus, this thing rocks and yes it does tether which was a deal breaker for me. I'm ditching my iphone as soon as my contract expires in a few weeks.

Sat, Nov 20, 2010 mike

i bought six focuses and it took the small biz rep ATT pulling inventory from 3 stores to complete my company upgrade. the staff at every store was trading in their iphones for WM7 phones. amazon is sold out for the next 9 days. if the sales really were low, it must be by design ... these phones have been much harder to get the iphone4. and... 40k on the first day is a decent pace. faster than iphone and android out the gate. it's a great platform. totally killed my weekend so far.

Sat, Nov 20, 2010 drunkenscholar

Whether the numbers are correct or not 40k in a smartphone saturated market on opening day is kinda expected. The average consumer can't afford to spend the money on penalties for breaking contracts, and then $200 to get a WP7 and sign a new contract. Those low numbers are indicative of all of us out there looking at this phone longingly and waiting for upgrade time. If Microsoft weathers the storm they will see the payoff. There are plenty of us that are wanting to jump ship as soon as possible.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 DITCHED IPHONE4 Seattle, WA

I got my Iphone4 for only few months and when I heard and saw WP7 I switched regardless of my contract. I had the very 1st Iphone then the 3GS then the Iphone4. After 3 years with IPhone it doesn't serve me any functionality and got bored with it. Now that I have my WP7 and am very impressed about it, my husband is only waiting for his upgrade eligibility in 7/2011 and he will definitely switch from his Iphone4 to WP7. Iphone and Android can't beat integration with Xbox, Office especially thatI can accept meeting notices and automatically have it on my calendar instead of manually entering it for reminders. Plus wireless sync and live updates baby. Iphone is just too ancient for me now with my WP7!

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 WR USA

For crying out loud. The 40K number is from an anonymous, unconfirmed source. How is repeating the number over and over again good journalism? I'm not saying the phone was a success or a flop. But really, RedmondMag. I could feed a quote to 'The street" that says first week sales were 2.1 million. Does that make it true? If the headlines then say "Microsoft is dominating iPhone"? I know that it the way reporting is done on the internet lately but it's still annoying.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 Ted Canada

They can say whatever they want 40K on first day. I will get this phone irregardless, I wish MS could have done it earlier. It will not be appealing to customers tied to their existing contracts. But it will soon catch up. I am excited on the integration with the XBOX 360 :)

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 edwin Winnipeg Canada

I am planning to get one from Rogers but they dont have the SAMSUNG FOCUS yet! Bummer! This phone will take off, I know it when I see one. I'm 42 yrs old and hate looking at those small icons. I got a Iphone 3G right now and I am going to MS for this one. Patiently waiting :)

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 Covenant USA

Purchased the Samsung Focus after much debate and research. This Phone is fantastic. The ease of use of the UI is wonderul. The phone is fast, easy to use, and fun to use. Friends who have the iPhone 4 have been impressed with the Focus and the UI - Rock on Microsoft.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010

Many are also waiting for next generation phone and software updates. 1st out OS and phones are short many of the later "Standards." That is why I am personally waiting. I can wait 6 - 8 more months to get the better OS and phone. My AT&T Fuse continues to be a great little phone.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 Lewis Georgia

I'd put my money on people waiting out their contracts. I didn't have a smartphone so I went ahead and got mine. The Focus has been great. The phone stays by my side. I look forward to the additional updates and features they will add. Being the first generation, I'd say they got a lot right. Also, I've seen this same comment on at least three different sites regarding the sales of the phone: "The evidence keeps increasing, indicating that Windows Phone 7 has flopped. We've got The Street's estimate of 40,000 units. We've got Boy Genius Report's survey of 15 stores in various cities that indicated poor sales. Now we see stores putting the flagship Samsung Focus in the discount bin. It's not looking good." Smells of troll... ;)

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 Paul UK

You also have to remember, many people are already on 18-24 month contracts, who are waiting for the contract to end before choosing a new phone. I want to go to Windows Phone 7, but am going to have to wait till July before I can upgrade. I can imagine that the process will be slow for MS for the next year or so.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 Budd

Ex-Iphone owner now on Samsung Focus. The phone rocks! Very happy with screen and performance.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 cluttrd

Bought a HTC Mozart - best phone, a delight to use.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 rb Ca

my buddy drop his Iphone 4g for the Samsung Focus today $50 @ amazon he liked my HTC surround..

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Sam

I have to agree with the people calling WP7 a flop. 40,000 in opening sales is not good. Unconfirmed number, you say? Perhaps, but notice that Microsoft has said nothing to refute this number. All they say is that sales are "fantastic". Didn't they say the same thing about the ZuneHD? How is that doing? And like the ZuneHD we now have all these posters (or astroturfers?) claiming how great this new Microsoft v1.0 product is and how it totally blows away the v3 or v4 Apple product. Yeah, right.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010

This article sounds bogus to me. I ditched my iPhone 3g and went with the Samsung Focus and never looked back. I'm not a fan of Apple or Microsoft. However, I have to say that Windows Phone 7 makes the iPhone look like a pathetic crippled dinosaur.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 janki NY

Windows Phone 7 is nowhere even close to iPhone4. I will wait for a couple of years for Microsoft to come up with a better phone. Out of 40,000 pieces that were sold, most of them are probably Microsoft employees. Seriously, Windows Phone is just a big hype, its going nowhere, the sooner Microsoft realizes it, the better it is for them.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 EddyKilowatt

I would also add that it seems like a smart move for them to release a roadmap of upgrades planned for the next several months. Right now uncertainty about what will or won't be added, and when, is the big cause of wait-and-see, and the big killer of their sales. People are more likely to spring for the hardware now if they can look at a roadmap and see their pet feature scheduled to be included (and retroactively pushed out to phones in the field).

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 EddyKilowatt

They have to know they're in for a long slog, hopefully have planned accordingly. I'm sure it irks them that MS can't generate the kind of buzz that got Apple fans to camp out around the block the night before the first iPhone, but... that's just not how people relate to MS. It took time for Win7 to overcome Vista and it'll take time for WP7 to overcome WinMo. Nobody wants to buy 1.0 of anything, especially from MS... by far the most frequent comment I've seen in all the forums has been "looks nice, I'll consider it, but will wait and see how fast they fix and upgrade it". MS could help break this logjam by pushing 1.1 out sooner rather than later, with at least one headline-grabbing upgrade... anything to convince people they are serious about staying in this game and building on the solid-looking platform that they have.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Milpitas, CA

Just got to play with both a Samsung Focus and a HTC that my friends got recently. I have to say I am impressed. I was holding off upgrading my Iphone 3GS to the 4 so far, but now I am convinced to go with one of these Windows 7 phones - probably the Focus.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Vas USA

I bought Samsung Focus and extremely satisfied. Many in the press & the fanboy community are so irritated not being able to find a legitimate flaw in windows phone. At the moment their only hope is the news of a lower sales volume, and instead of waiting for official figures to come in they are commenting on a ridiculous, fictious reports:-(

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 srkrr

'Limping out the gate' to a 'lukewarm reception' is not what Microsoft was hoping for Windows Phone 7. Low initial sales will only cause more consumers and developers to hold back on Windows Phone 7, and take a wait and see attitude towards it.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010

Totally agree Gavin! So many other sites keep citing that one single source of 40,000 sales in the first day - Enough already! The phone is fantastic and people need to understand that. But these seemingly incessant reiterations of the very SAME THING over and over and over is really getting tiring and is causing some 'would be' buyers to hesitate. Geez...

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Gavin

I swear to God that I have seen the exact comments (from Herbert Hui) on other Windows Phone news articles. It's worded exactly the same as well. I am pretty sure this is some spin from Apple or Google's PR. I bought the Samsun Focus and it's great - first impressions: better phone than iPhone, worse App Store.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 Herbert Hui UK

The evidence keeps increasing, indicating that Windows Phone 7 has flopped. We've got The Street's estimate of 40,000 units. We've got Boy Genius Report's survey of 15 stores in various cities that indicated poor sales. Now we see stores putting the flagship Samsung Focus in the discount bin. It's not looking good.

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