We’ve been negative about Windows Phone 7’s current commercial outlook over the past several weeks as sales data has been scarce, and we have not heard a peep that pointed to things leaning in a positive direction.
However, today, new data has come forth from Millennial Media that might indicate that we have been a touch too antagonistic. According to the company, ad impressions on the Windows Phone 7 platform grew 31% in the last quarter.
That number compares to an 18% growth rate on the iOS platform, and 11% on Android during the same period.
Of course, as Windows Phone 7 is a speck compared to both of those mobile lines, that it managed to outgrow them on a percentage basis is hardly surprising. But what is interesting is the total percentage growth that Windows Phone 7 managed to book, even after you discount the number to account for any number of influencing factors. Even a 25% growth rate implies that hundreds of thousands of WP7 devices are being moved monthly (based off of previously reported sales data), a rate that pales compared to the competition, but is certainly a high enough sales volume to keep the platform alive at least until Mango is released.
In other words, Windows Phone 7 is not dead.
Ballmer might be content to say that sales are still “small,” and he is right, but at least we can now safely say that Windows Phone 7 has managed to settle to a volume position that is sustainable into the future. Now the real challenge begins: How does Microsoft get total sales up?