Analyst Horace Dediu thinks Microsoft sold around 1.4 million Windows Phone units in the platform’s first year of release.
As he points out, that lowballs an earlier estimate from research firm Gartner, which plugged Microsoft’s total number of smartphones sold in 2011 at 1.723 million, including both Windows Phone and the now-antiquated Windows Mobile.
The more interesting (at least to me) part of Dediu’s Oct. 12 posting on his Asymco Website, though, was his analysis of Microsoft’s marketing strategy for Windows Phone.
“The dependence on a complex value network means that products do not reach users quickly enough and when they do the marketing message is weak, even when backed by large budgets,” he wrote. “The real problem with Microsoft’s approach is that it’s neither viral like Android (because it has a price and a contract associated with it) nor is it focused and agile like Apple’s.”
In other words, he added, “it seems to suffer from the worst aspects of modularity (market lag) without benefitting from the control over the ecosystem and end user experience that differentiates it.”
Microsoft has been rather upfront lately about Windows Phone’s market performance, although they still regularly decline to offer any sort of hard sales data. “It was under a year ago that we launched the first Windows Phone,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told an audience of media and executives at this year’s financial analyst meeting. “We haven’t sold quite as many probably as I would have hoped in the first year.”
The company hopes its upcoming push, centered on the extensive “Mango” software update, will help it compete on a more equal level against Google Android and iOS. In coming months, new Windows Phones preloaded with Mango will arrive on the market from Nokia, Samsung and others. Microsoft likely hopes that this new effort will make up for the old.