Microsoft admits Windows Phone 7 slide was wrong

Microsoft acknowledged on Friday that it used an inaccurate number to represent research company IDC’s sales forecast for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform.

During a presentation at the ReMix conference in Paris this week, Microsoft showed a slide that said IDC had forecast 30 million Windows Phone 7 devices would be sold by the end of 2011. The MobileTechWorld blog posted a photo of the French-language slide.

As it turns out, IDC had said no such thing about the future operating system, on which many observers believe Microsoft’s mobile-phone future depends.

Instead, the research company forecast 2011 sales of 32 million devices running all Windows mobile operating systems. This includes expected sales of devices with Windows Mobile 6.5, which is already on the market. IDC has not given any sales estimate for Windows Phone 7, which Microsoft has said will be available in the fourth quarter.

“At the ReMix conference in Paris, Microsoft presented a slide projecting the number of Windows Phone 7 [devices] to be sold in 2011. This slide was inaccurate, and intended to represent an analyst’s assessment of the market opportunity,” Microsoft said in a prepared statement. The company added that it has not provided any sales forecasts of its own for the OS.

IDC won’t be able to forecast sales of Windows Phone 7 devices until the OS is on sale and it has been able to talk with mobile operators and hardware vendors, mobile analyst Will Stofega said.

Microsoft has lagged in the fast-moving smartphone market as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS have captured the limelight. IDC’s report showed about 16 million Windows Mobile devices shipped in 2009, with a forecast of 22 million this year and 32 million next year. Windows Mobile is in fourth place among phone operating systems, behind Symbian, BlackBerry and Mac OS X, and will remain there until 2014, when it will surpass Mac OS X, IDC believes.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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