10/29/2010 10:24:00 AM
Windows Phone 7 stock shortages
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 launch has been hit by significant stock shortages, threatening to undermine its attempt to regain market share after several years of decline.
The shortages have forced Microsoft’s lead UK operator partner, Orange to compensate customers. Other operators were also affected by the shortages, Mobile understands.
Ahead of the launch, Orange warned retail managers in an email seen by Mobile to expect stock shortages.
The email said: ‘We will be launching with limited amounts of both our Windows Phone 7 devices, the HTC 7 Mozart and the Samsung Omnia 7. We are, however, anticipating that our competitors could be in a similar situation.’
As a ‘good will gesture’ Orange offered customers who were unable to get a Windows Phone 7 handset a £20 HMV voucher ‘as a thanks for pre-ordering with Orange retail’.
Orange retail prioritised stock for key stores in London: stores that had received pre-orders; the 50 Orange stores featuring MulTPix screens; and City Centre stores where the Metro newspaper had carried Windows Phone 7 advertising.
One Orange manager said: ‘I was shocked when I heard the news. We are the lead partner for Windows Phone 7. But I believe this is a manufacturer issue on a world-wide scale.’
Devices featuring the new operating system went on sale across a range of operators and manufacturers on 21 October.
An Orange spokesperson said: ‘We have been working with our handset partners to roll out Windows Phone 7 devices across our retail footprint as swiftly as possible. We can confirm that as part of this process, we have been running a pre-order service whereby customers are given an incentive in those stores who have yet to receive stock, and we are working with our suppliers to meet customer demand as a number one priority. It’s worth noting that Orange Windows Phone 7 handsets are also available through Orange Telesales and the Orange Online shop.’
Microsoft UK mobile business group director Alex Reeve said: ‘Together with our partners, we began selling the first phones with Windows Phone 7 in Europe and Asia-Pacific on 21 October. We had some challenges with retail stock in the first few days, but it is now flowing much more freely.’
HTC and Samsung did not comment.