Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 devices launched across the UK and Europe on October 21 but appeared to be overshadowed by device delays and shortages.
Winrumors sat down with Brandon Watson, Director for Windows Phone 7, earlier this week to get his take on the launch issues. I asked Watson if the shortage of devices had overshadowed the launch in the UK. “I was on Oxford Street for day of launch in the UK at the Orange store and they were selling the devices they had. Did we have enough for everybody? We sold out, that’s a good problem to have,” explained Watson.
Microsoft launched its Windows Phone 7 devices in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand on October 21. Despite the launch events, only two people queued for the devices when the Orange store in London’s Oxford Street opened at 7AM on October 21. One was Andrew Willett who had been queuing since 5:45 AM, and the other was Simon Stearn. Retailers across the UK did not receive sufficient stock of the devices and most phone stores had no signage, promotional material or dummy devices on show for the launch weekend. Carriers focused their stock on big stores in cities like Manchester and London.
I described the poor retail execution of Windows Phone 7 across the UK. Watson admitted it was a shame to hear that retail execution wasn’t top notch in the UK. “That’s actually unfortunate, I’m sad to hear that.” The Windows Phone 7 developer boss said he would follow up with the teams in the UK on the launch issues. He admitted: “We have certain locations where the retail execution may be not as good as we hoped”.
Stock shortages dampened the launch after wide reports of delayed pre-orders across Europe and a lack of devices on launch day. Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u both missed out on Windows Phone 7 launch stock due to major stock shortages worldwide. Orange, a lead partner for Windows Phone 7, has been compensating those unable to purchase a device. As a ‘good will gesture’ Orange offered £20 HMV vouchers to those who pre-order devices due to the lack of immediate availability.
Despite the launch day shortages in the UK, Watson was upbeat about the devices. “People are excited about the device, we had lines around the block in New York stores. For a company that people said we’re out of mobile, I feel pretty good about that. We’re all really excited.”