Microsoft has its work cut out for it when its manufacturing partners launch the first Windows Phone 7.5 Mango handsets in the U.S. this holiday season.
Apple announced today that it’s sold over four million iPhone 4S handsets since its launch on Oct. 14.
That’s more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days, according to the news release.
That’s partly because more carriers are offering the phone now. Unlike the iPhone 4 launch some 16 months ago when AT&T was its only U.S. carrier, the iPhone 4S is now also on Verizon and Sprint.
Apple also said in its release that more than 25 million customers are already using iOS 5, the newest version of its mobile operating system that also became available last week.
Though Microsoft currently holds only a small fraction of the smartphone platform market — research firm comScore shows it at about 5.7 percent of the U.S. market — Microsoft is hoping its latest version of Windows Phone will help turn that around.
It’s banking on its partnership with Nokia — in which the Finnish phonemaker will use Windows Phone exclusively as its smartphone platform from here on out — to boost sales. Microsoft also recently reached an agreement with Samsung in which the phone manufacturer agreed to cooperate in the development and marketing of Windows Phone.
[Update 10:53 a.m.: Mobile Magazine is reporting that Microsoft has committed about $44 million to Nokia and Samsung to market Windows Phones in the U.K. About $32 million of that will go to Nokia, with the rest going to Samsung, the report says.
A Microsoft spokesperson declined to confirm that report, saying only that “we’re thrilled to be working with our partners to showcase our latest Windows Phone devices.”]
Microsoft also is launching a series of ads this holiday season tying together its “family” of consumer products, including Windows Phone. In addition, it’s banking on a strategy of offering a range of phones in different sizes and price ranges, according to Windows Phone President Andy Lees, who talks more about the company’s strategy here.