Microsoft today posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, selling more than two million Windows Phone 7 devices so far, but underscoring a slowing momentum for the mobile operating system as rivals Apple and Google surge ahead.
In December, Windows Phone 7 hit the 1.5 million mark after six weeks, or at an average rate of 250,000 units every week. Now two million devices after 10 weeks represent just 200,000 new users each week.
The Redmond, Wash.-based company found a silver lining by emphasizing its customer satisfaction survey. It highlighted that 93 percent of Windows Phone owners said they were satisfied, or very satisfied, with the product and 90 percent said they would recommend it to someone else.
“For a new platform, we think things like customer satisfaction, awareness and likeliness to recommend to others are even more important leading indicators of a platform’s long term prospects,” said Greg Sullivan, Microsoft’s senior product manager. “Our number one priority was to build a phone people love. All indications are we’ve done just that.”
The company reported a profit of $6.6 billion, down from $6.7 billion a year earlier, but better than analysts’ expectations.
Once a leader in the smartphone sector, Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market has slowly been eroded by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. To differentiate its offering from its competitors, the company developed Windows Phone 7 for the middle ground — between high-end consumers who gravitate towards the iPhone and tech-oriented types who prefer Android software.
Consumers report that Windows Phone 7 performs well on calls, calendars, text messages and navigation, but lacks some smartphone features such as copy-paste and multitasking. Microsoft is working on an update expected to be released early this year.
Earlier last week, Microsoft acknowledged a glitch in its Windows Phone 7 software, which racked up “phantom data” charges on the phone bills of some of its users.
Microsoft still has a long way to catch up to its competition. Apple sold 16.3 million iPhones last quarter, fueling record high revenues. Last week, Google announced a surge in profits thanks, in part, to its Android smartphone operating system. Android, number two ahead of Apple, activates 300,000 devices each day for more than 9 million units in a month.