While Microsoft is claiming to be satisfied with the early sales performance of Windows Phone 7 the same might not be true of the phone manufacturers.
Last month we reported that 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices were sold by manufacturers to mobile carriers and retailers in their first six weeks on the market but that consumer sales figures were not not yet available. Now, in an interview with Pocket-lint, James Choi, marketing strategy and planning team director of LG Electronics, has gone on record saying that Windows Phone 7 hasn’t performed as well as envisaged:
“From an industry perspective we had a high expectation, but from a consumer point of view the visibility is less than we expected.”
Ironically, one of the problems according to Choi is that the OS is easy to use:
“For tech guys like us it might be a little bit boring after a week or two, but there are certain segments that it really appeals to. We strongly feel that it has a strong potential even though the first push wasn’t what everyone expected”.
From a programmer's point of view this might be over stating the case - quite a lot. We like a challenge but the whole point of the system is that it is programmable using tools and techniques that we know well - does that make the OS boring?
Microsoft was also upbeat about the rate of app development claiming that 4,000 apps are already available in its marketplace and 18,000 developers are developing for it.
From the developer's point of view there is a barrier to dabbling in Windows Phone 7 development - a $99 annual fee for membership of the app approval process - even if all you want to do is test a sample app on your own phone. Then there is the problem of enterprise apps. If you want to develop an app to be used by a particular company and only that company you still have to use the app market to distribute it and this is not a good solution as it opens the app up to the world at large.
At some point in the future there might be an alternative route for enterprise apps but for the moment it's a mess. For WP7, which has the promise of good integration with desktop and office systems, ignoring the enterprise app market and focusing on the consumer is perhaps a big mistake.
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