Pressed on the issue by The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg at All Things Digital’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference on Tuesday, Microsoft Corporate VP for Windows Phone Joe Belfiore would say only that “It’s just too soon to talk about numbers,” though he admitted it will likely take years before Microsoft is near the top of the mobile market share discussion.
The issue with that response, of course, is that a variety of reports have pegged Windows Phone 7 sales as lackluster thus far, while competitors Apple and Google continue to trot out big numbers about the growth of iOS and Android, respectively. The silence, as they say, could certainly be perceived as deafening in this case.
Moving on, Belfiore looked to differentiate Windows Phone 7 from its competitors and offer his view on the unique value it offers to consumers. Notably, he said the OS focuses on making “common tasks … with high volume,” like social networking, web browsing and e-mail, more elegant. He also pointed to a photo button that lets users take pictures even when their phone is locked and Windows Phone 7’s “Live Tiles” feature as compelling differentiators.
As for current shortcomings – like the lack of multitasking and copy/paste – Belfiore indicated that the latter is coming in the first quarter of 2011, and that for the former, users can already run features like e-mail, web browsing and music in the background (with support for third-party apps on the way).
In short, it’s clear that Microsoft is still very much playing catchup in the smartphone space, though the company does have a strategy — that’s apparent in its current ad campaign — for luring customers in the short-term. Without disclosing numbers, however, it’s going to be challenging for the company to convince both investors and consumers that Windows Phone 7 is truly catching on and is a viable alternative to other platforms.