John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

30 Million Windows Phone 7 Units in 2011? Sure You Didn’t Mean Windows Mobile OS Phones?

When Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007, CEO Steve Jobs predicted his company would sell about 10 million of them, or about one percent of the worldwide market, by 2008. It was an aggressive goal and at the time, many observers dismissed it as unreachable. Research in Motion (RIMM) had sold only 5.5 million BlackBerrys in 2006, and its devices were available in a number of different models from a variety of carriers. How could Apple best those sales with a single device distributed by a single carrier?

Of course, Apple (AAPL) did just that, hitting its 10-million objective by the end of its 2008 September quarter.

And now Microsoft (MSFT) claims it will exceed Apple’s iPhone goal three times over with the launch of Windows Phone 7. According to a Microsoft presentation made at ReMIX France and spotted by MobileTech World, Redmond hopes to sell 30 million Windows Phone 7 devices by the end of 2011. And it cites some IDC data to back that goal.

Now, during his Consumer Electronics Show keynote in 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed sales of 20 million Windows Mobile devices. “We have delivered 11 different mobile phones that have each sold a million units each, and in the past year,” Ballmer said. “We’ve brought to market over 30 new Windows Mobile phones, or more than any other mobile platform in the market…and our partners have sold more than 20 million Windows Phones in the past 12 months.”

So perhaps it’s not unreasonable to think the company could sell 30 million devices running Windows Phone 7, which seems a far, far more compelling operating system than its predecessor.

That said, there’s one very important point to make here: The IDC data on which Microsoft bases its claims include all versions of the Windows Mobile OS, not just Windows Phone 7.

In other words, the IDC data do not support Microsoft’s claims. “The figures cited include both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile 6.x,” IDC told me. “To say that they are purely Windows Phone 7 units is a misnomer; it’s not an accurate representation of our data.” The research house added that the slide at issue here wasn’t created or approved by IDC.

That’s unfortunate, because Microsoft’s slide very clearly reads, “30 Million Windows 7 Devices” and the bar graph that’s featured on it reads, “Prévisions IDC”–French for “IDC Forecasts.”

A bit of a cock-up here, then. Though there is one bit of good news: Microsoft got that 30 million number wrong too. According to IDC, the real number is 32 million–and that’s for 2011 sales of devices running all versions of Windows Mobile OS. And, as Mary Jo Foley notes over at ZDnet, “… who in his/her right mind is still going to buy a WM 6.x phone (which is not backward-compatible with WP7) as of this fall?”

UPDATE: Here’s Microsoft’s comment on the matter:

At the reMix conference in Paris, Microsoft presented a slide projecting the number of Windows Phone 7 phones to be sold in 2011. This slide was inaccurate, and intended to represent an analyst’s assessment of the market opportunity. We have not provided any sales forecasts for Windows Phone. Microsoft is introducing a fundamentally new design and experience with Windows Phone 7 in an effort to reposition our mobile business for the long-term.”

[Image Credit: MobileTech World]

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald