Windows Phone 8 is off to a great start, if Microsoft’s CEO is to be believed. During a shareholders’ meeting this week, the outspoken executive had a lot of effusive things to say about the platform, alongside claims that the new WP8 platform was outselling its predecessor by four to one.
“Windows Phone 8 has been on sale for a few weeks and is off to a great start, [and the phones] are getting rave reviews and have initially sold out in many countries.”
The issue here isn’t whether Windows Phone 8 is selling well compared to Windows Phone 7. This is undoubtedly true give the former platform’s poor sales performance throughout its brief lifespan. The real question is whether Windows Phone 8 is selling well compared to iPhone and top Android devices, but until we hear from Nokia in their next quarterly earnings we won’t know for sure.
There is anecdotal evidence that at least one Windows Phone 8 device — the Nokia Lumia 920 — is making brisk sales. The AT&T version is difficult to find in stores, according to people we’ve spoken with, and Amazon cannot keep the device in stock. Subjectively, the phone offers great value over the equivalent Android or iPhone; in Canada it is sold for $99.99 on a three-year contract with 32GB of internal storage, whereas most Android devices, or the equivalent iPhone 5, are more expensive and offer less space.
Microsoft has also been touting WP8 as a “synergistic” platform with Windows 8, which it launched around the same time. They have sold 40 million licenses since its launch a month ago but, again, Ballmer is cagey as to what that means; are 40 million computers running Windows 8, or have that many licenses merely been issued, left to sit on shelves or in OEMs’ databases?
According to Microsoft, demand for Windows 8 PCs and tablets is enormous; the data, however, shows a 21% decline for Windows PCs over last year (including tablets, which were practically non-existent), and according to analysts the Windows 8 tablet market is “virtually non-existent.” Again, until we hear from OEMs reporting actual sales data we won’t know for sure. We’ll also likely hear how many Surfaces were sold when Microsoft issues its next quarterly results. Either way, it will be spun into a web of success: Ballmer is good at that, and we love an underdog.