Microsoft may have some trouble selling its new Windows Phone 7 smartphones, if a new British report is any indication.
In a report quickly disseminated across the Web by blogs such as Electronista, U.K. retailer MobilesPlease reported that Windows Phone 7 devices were being outsold by their Google Android and Symbian counterparts. While lone sales reports are questionable indicators of broader trends, this bit of news from the U.K. dovetails with earlier rumors that first-day Windows Phone 7 sales in the United States were somewhat lackluster.
"Windows Phone 7 has got off to a sluggish start as far as our customers are concerned," reads a Nov. 29 posting on MobilesPlease's corporate blog, "accounting for just 3 [percent] of smartphone sales and a little under 2 [percent] of overall sales through MobilesPlease.co.uk and our network of partner sites that share our data feed."
Symbian 3 devices apparently outsold their Windows Phone 7 competition by a factor of 3-to-1. "I wanted to make sure that our figures weren't anomalous, so I went to a few local high street mobile phone retailers," the posting continues, "and although they couldn't give me numbers the story was the same, Windows Phone 7 Handsets are not selling."
The posting acknowledges MobilesPlease's findings aren't necessarily "indicative of all retailers' position on Windows Phone 7."
Global retail numbers for the smartphones, however, remain ambiguous. International reports indicated strong interest in Windows Phone 7, with DigiTimes reporting "better than expected" movement on HTC-built devices in Europe and Australia. Stocks of the devices were reportedly low in the U.K., where carrier Orange told media outlets that it had "limited amounts" of the HTC 7 Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 available to customers.
Within a day of the smartphone platform's Nov. 8 release in the United States, reports indicated a high level of interest for devices offered through AT&T and T-Mobile. "We did have lines in some of our markets across the nation," an AT&T spokesperson reportedly told the Seattle Times. "There definitely was anticipation for the phone."
But two days later, TheStreet.com reported that 40,000 Windows Phone 7 devices had sold during their first 24 hours' release. That number reportedly came from an unnamed "market research source who tracks phone sales." Microsoft has remained silent about hard numbers; if verified, however, that 40,000 figure lags behind first-day numbers for the Apple iPhone 4, one of Windows Phone 7's major competitors in the consumer smartphone space.
Microsoft hopes Windows Phone 7 will allow it to seize share from not only the iPhone, but also Google Android. It may be months, though, before a definitive picture emerges of the smartphones' success or failure in the market.