Comparing Apples to lemons: Windows Phone beats Apple Watch

A comparison so nonsensical it hurts the Macalope's antlers.


As the artist formerly known as Prince and who is possibly again known as Prince (who can keep up?) once wrote: Oh, no, let’s go crazy.

Writing for USA Today, Matt Krantz has really taken the words of His Royal Badness to heart. Aaaaand written something that is royally bad.

“Microsoft’s phone outsells Apple Watch” (tip o’ the antlers to @papanic)

Phone. Watch.

Huh. That’s…


Apple still won’t say how many watches it sold.


But one thing most likely for sure: It was beaten by Microsoft’s phone.

Slow, confused, scattered applause and coughing before heading quickly to the exits.

Microsoft told investors during last night’s conference call it sold 8.4 million Lumia smartphones—a more than 10% increase from the same period last year.

That’s pretty good. But since we’re committed to this dumb comparisons of Watches to Phones, the Macalope feels compelled to point out that 10 percent would be about 800,000 more phones. Apple, meanwhile, sold probably about 4 million more watches than they sold in the previous year, so… you sure you want to stick with this?

While Microsoft was able to move more units, they weren’t able to move more dollars. Their phone revenue was down 38 percent from the same quarter last year. Benedict Evans even speculates that watch revenue for just the two full months it was on sale last quarter might have been larger than Windows Phone revenue for the whole quarter. But they totally beat the Apple Watch in unit sales numbers. No question about that.

Many, many other questions like, “What poor life choices led us to this argument?” but no question about that.

That’s just smartphones. Microsoft also sells non-smartphones—to the tune of 19.4 million.

Wow! It’s too bad Apple doesn’t sell phones so we could compare sales of Windows Phone to that. OH, WELL.

No matter if you take all Microsoft phone sales—27.8 million—or just the smartphones at 8.4 million—both numbers are much larger than what people estimate Apple Watch sales to be.


Is everything all right at home, Matt? Because… yeeeeeeeee.

Despite a media frenzy and aggressive marketing, Apple likely sold just 4 million watches during the period…

What are we doing here? It seems unreal we’re arguing about this comparison. You know, Coke probably sold more cans of cola than Apple sold iPhones last quarter, in case you’re looking for a topic for your next article.

Some Wall Street analysts think the number was likely even lower.

Some analysts think it was higher and it’s clear that Apple has vaulted into the lead of the, admittedly small, smartwatch category!


The fact shows how the gulf between hype and reality can be quite large.

The reality that Microsoft sold more phones than Apple sold watches. That reality. The reality of universe 316/24-A With Jelly On It universe.

It’s also a sign of how difficult it is, even for Apple, to jump into new markets.

Yep, they only took 75 percent of the market with only two full months of sales and constrained supplies and, man, what are you even talking about? Are you being held captive in some kind of anti-Apple diatribe sweatshop? Blink once for “yes” and twice for “blazzlefrozzle.”

Microsoft indicated it can find ways to keep the momentum going for its smartphone numbers. Microsoft recently announced it was laying off tens of thousands of workers it acquired as part of the purchase of Nokia.

Nothing boosts sales like laying people off.

“They laid off how many people? Oh, man, I have got to get me one of those.”

Are they going to put it on the box like a spec? “4G LTE, 1 GB of RAM, laid off 15,000 people.” The only way that would boost their numbers is if they were giving one to each laid off worker as part of their severance package. “Your services are no longer required; please accept this free phone.”

But CEO Satya Nadella has stated the company will refocus on fewer Lumia handsets–targeted precisely for three markets: Value, business and enthusiasts.

Read as: Cheap people, people who are forced to use their devices, and ka-ray-zee dead-enders!

Unlike Apple users and developers, which have one operating system on the desktop and another one on their phones, Windows will have a single ecosystem. App developers who write apps for the billions of Windows 10 PC users can run the same code on PCs.

And they’ll run just as well on a device with 1GB of RAM as they will on one with 16GB of RAM because Microsoft is magic.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors he thinks the Apple Watch could lead into something in the future.

Could be. But investors like numbers—and the numbers don’t lie.

Very true. People lie with numbers—like, for example, just off the top of the Macalope’s head, making ridiculous comparisons between noncompeting device sales—but numbers themselves don’t lie because they are mathematical constructs that help us explain the universe around us, yes, good point.

The Macalope was thinking it might be instructive to do the opposite of what Krantz has done, compare iPhone sales to sales of the Microsoft Band that Krantz is such a fan of, but it doesn’t appear that Microsoft reported sales figures for the Band. Also, after a fruitless search online, it appears no one has bothered to estimate how many Bands Microsoft might have sold since its debut last fall. We can’t say for certain that it’s because no one cares but… it’s probably because no one cares. It’s a shame because, unlike that comparison or Krantz’s, comparing Watch sales to Band sales might have been meaningful. Oh, well. When life gives you lemons, make comparisons to them.

(Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody for the title.)

Subscribe to the Best of Macworld Newsletter