2 Stocks Microsoft Is Hunting (Hint: Not Apple)

So what if Windows Phone 7 doesn't have the allure of the iPhone? The device is selling well, and that's a problem for Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) .

In a Q&A posted earlier this week, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) executive Achim Berg said manufacturers had sold 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 handsets in the operating system's first six weeks of release. More than 4,000 apps are now live in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace.

No doubt those numbers sound small when compared with the hundreds of thousands of iPhones and Android handsets activated daily. So be it. No one, not even Microsoft, is pretending that Windows Phone 7 is in a position to dethrone Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) or Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) as princes of the mobile-telephony realm. All Berg wants is progress, which he says he's getting.

"Sales are ramping well as our reputation is growing for offering users a unique experience and are in line with our expectations -- especially when compared to other new platform introductions," Berg said in the Q&A.

We've already seen evidence of momentum. Last month, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) , which already produces Android handsets, announced plans to switch 25,000 employees from the BlackBerry to Windows Phone 7 handsets.

What's less clear is how much impact Windows Phone 7 will have on mobile OS usage. But it's a good bet that RIM and Nokia have the most to lose from Mr. Softy's renewed emphasis on mobile telephony. Gartner data shows both OSes losing ground:

 

To be fair, so have Microsoft and Apple now that Android has become a juggernaut. But Mr. Softy's losses also came at the expense of the aging Windows Mobile platform, which frankly should have died a long time ago.

Windows Phone 7 isn't the same platform. It's better, it's more fun, and it's winning converts. Look out, RIM. Stay sharp, Nokia. Microsoft is coming for you both.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Is Windows Phone 7 as big a threat as it appears to be? Please vote in the poll below, and then leave a comment to explain your thinking. You can also rate Microsoft in Motley Fool CAPS.

Interested in more info on the stocks mentioned in this story? Add Research In Motion, Nokia, Microsoft, Apple, Google, or Dell to your watchlist.

Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is also a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended subscribers open a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy waited till college to take an archery class.


Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2010, at 5:07 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Many enterprises user RIMM BLackberry and their server(s) for executive email along with MS Exchange server(s) for general email. WP7 Phones provide for getting rid of RIMM and saving lots of $$$. Also, Nokia can actually capitialize in WP7 buy bronging out line of smartphones thayt run Android, S3/4 and WP7. MS doesn't want hardware portion of smartphone market, ala Apple, MS wants mobiles client software to ultimately provide home mulyimedia servers (XBOX) that service all digital content (email, financial, music, TV, voice, etc.).

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2010, at 6:40 PM, deemery wrote:

    Remember, Microsoft is logging sales to vendors, not to consumers. Let's see how they sell to people, not TELCOs and handset makers.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2010, at 6:41 PM, deemery wrote:

    Oh, and Dell is hardly an "honest broker" when it comes to Microsoft...

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2010, at 11:10 PM, gslusher wrote:

    "Berg said manufacturers had sold 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 handsets..."

    Report what he said just BEFORE that:

    "Another is phone manufacturer sales – phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers."

    As deemery said, that is NOT the same as sales to actual users. it's not even what Apple means by sales, since Apple's sales figures include iPhones sold by their stores and the online Apple Store, directly to consumers. It doesn't even say that the retailers actually HAVE the phones--they've "bought" them. Who knows--they may be on the proverbial slow boat from China.

    Microsoft has used "channel stuffing" in the past--shipping a lot of a product to retailers (many of which MUST take whatever Microsoft sends them) and counting those as "sales." It catches up, eventually, of course. Apple, OTOH, has a very short pipeline and doesn't keep a lot of products in inventory. Apple often uses air shipments for iPhones, iPods and iPads, rather than surface.

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2010, at 11:31 AM, baldheadeddork wrote:

    Tim, this has been my take from the beginning of WP7. Apple and Android are battling for the consumer market and are probably out of reach for the immediate future. But Blackberry is extremely vulnerable and WP7 is the strongest challenger to the business market that RIMM has ever faced.

    RIMM is clearly more vulnerable because Nokia can switch from Symbian to WP7 or Android (or, better, both) and maybe improve their position because they're so strong in handset design and manufacturing. RIMM, not so much.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2010, at 12:52 AM, Davewrite wrote:

    "the device is selling well"

    huh?

    1.5 million phones sold in 6 weeks is dismal when you consider that's 10 devices sold on 60 (SIXTY!) carriers in 30 countries.

    The iPhone One when launched sold 1 million in 74 days on ONE carrier in ONE country.

    The iPhone 4 sold a 1 million in 3 days in 5 countries.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2010, at 3:58 AM, HawaiianJem wrote:

    Microsoft is wishful thinking if they think they could catch RIM or any of the others. They had the market years ago and let it slip through their fingers just like IE. I don't see any way they can make up for lost time with a product that doesn't do anything unique or offer services the others don't outside of users being able to use pocket versions of Microsoft Office. Good luck to them but to me Android, iOS and Blackberry OWN the market lock, stock and barrel!

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2010, at 12:45 AM, AppleandRIM wrote:

    What this story and SOOO many others neglect to explain is that we HATE Microsoft. We don't just "dislike" them. We hate them. We were held captive by their monopoly and we had to deal with it. Microsoft has ALWAYS come up with products (albeit always chasing everyone) that Apple and Google came out with (MP3, music store, smartphone etc) and they all have been flops. They lost the "search" wars to Google. They lost the innovation war to Apple. They lost the MP3 and music download war to Apple. They lost the smartphone war to RIM, Apple and Google. Microsoft are complete losers. I wouldn't buy a Microsoft product for $0.01. I can't wait until I don't need their O/S any longer as RIM is putting put the QNX O/S and with TAT as their UI, they will leave Microsoft even further behind. RIM doesn't even include Microsoft on their radar - how pathetic is that for Microsoft. Google and Apple are RIM's only competitors - Microsoft will fail as they always do when they find themselves chasing everyone who left them eating dust. I for one would care less if Microsoft went out of business tomorrow.

  • Report this Comment On December 27, 2010, at 11:58 AM, nmoore41 wrote:

    It is FOOLISH to compare current sales rates of iPhone/Android to WP7's first month- it's apples to oranges b/c those platforms have been in the market much longer to gain momentum.

    It's better to compare the 1.5M in WP7 first 6 weeks to how long it took the original iPhone to hit 1M units (74 days) and the iPad (28 days)- http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/05/03ipad.html

    When comparing WP7 to initial iPad/iPhone release numbers, WP7 is doing phenomenal and it will only pick up momentum...

  • Report this Comment On December 28, 2010, at 2:20 PM, Koca111 wrote:

    My inventions to help mankind to live better and start producing, but I've discovered so far free of my invention but

    I have my expenses and I know very well that any company that is using my invention that will be the leader in database technology worldwide

    Solvis Varazdin Croatia manufacturing and engineering company manufacturing high-performance photovoltaic modules. High-efficiency photovoltaic module manufacturing company started 2009th crystallinic technology in silicon. Production based on strict criteria of quality control and excellent use of the world's leading producers of raw materials. At its photovoltaic modules provide 5 years warranty for quality and 25 years warranty on power output. Solvis photovoltaic modules are the result of the development process II study. In 2009. Solvis was contracted through the delivery of complete systems or 300kW photovoltaic modules. Some of the most important references where they are installed photovoltaic modules of the Solvis: Solar power plants Solvis in Varazdin (21kW), Sunny Power Engineering, University of Rijeka (21kW) Solar power plants and the commonwealth of Rijeka roundabout (270kW)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OlU73q7w6Q

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