Microsoft still seems reluctant to share sales numbers for Windows Phone 7.
During a Dec. 7 conversation with Walt Mossberg at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone Program Management, declined to offer any hard data on the new smartphone platform's marketplace performance.
"We're not talking about numbers yet," he told Mossberg, according to a rough transcript hosted by All Things Digital, which runs the conference. "It's just too soon to talk about numbers."
Belfiore also suggested that Windows Phone 7 apps now total between three and four thousand, and that feature updates are in the works: "There are certainly some functionality shortfalls and we are going to work to address them." Those features include cut-and-paste, which Microsoft executives have suggested will arrive in early 2011.
With Microsoft pushing millions of dollars into Windows Phone 7's development and marketing, the pressure is on for a successful product line. Should the platform succeed, it could help Microsoft's several quarters' worth of market-share declines in the face of intense pressure from Google Android and the Apple iPhone.
However, some analysts see a steep uphill climb for the smartphones, which launched in the United States in early November on AT&T and T-Mobile.
"Not all the stars are aligning for the Microsoft operating system the way it did for [Google] Android," Ross Rubin, the NPD Group's executive director for industry analysis, wrote in a Nov. 30 posting on the research firm's corporate blog. "First, whereas Verizon had a paucity of touch screen smartphones prior to the Droid, AT&T and T-Mobile are flush with them."
However, "the devices at those carriers offer clear alternatives to the incumbents," Rubin added. "All of the Windows phones at AT&T pack something the iPhone lacks, and the HD7's screen looms large above others in T-Mobile's portfolio."
A report from TheStreet.com, paraphrasing an unnamed "market research source who tracks phone sales," suggested that some 40,000 Windows Phone 7 devices had sold on Nov. 8, the U.S. release date. International news outlets such as DigiTimes have reported strong Windows Phone 7 sales in parts of Europe and Australia, although a new report from U.K. retailer MobilesPlease indicated the smartphones were being outsold by Google Android and Symbian rivals in that country.
Microsoft previously referred eWEEK's queries about Windows Phone 7's sales numbers to AT&T and T-Mobile. An AT&T spokesperson declined to cite exact figures, but offered a statement: "While we won't disclose specific sales figures, we're encouraged by the early demand from customers in stores and online."