Shame that Microsoft and Tech Press doesn’t know what a “sale” is

If you look at Techmeme right now you’ll see a lot about Microsoft pushing a story that their Windows Phone 7 system is selling well. I saw lots of headlines to that effect, a few that are still on Techmeme.

One little problem, the thing they are counting isn’t sales at all.

Here, let me pull out my book contract with Wiley. I only got paid for a sale. A real sale. You know, when a customer walks into a store, picks up my book, brings it to the checkout counter, and actually turns over some cash for it. (Or does the virtual equivilent online).

Note: they did NOT pay me for all those copies sitting in Amazon’s warehouse.

When I helped run a retail store in Silicon Valley back in the 1980s, we all knew what a “sale” was. It was when it actually got sold and walked out the door. I was paid on commission back then. That’s the only time I ever got paid. I never got paid for ordering 1,000 Canons that sat in the warehouse. In fact, if they sat there for very long I would get fired if I made too many buying mistakes.

So, how many Windows Phone 7s have Microsoft sold? No one knows, but based on discussions with developers who are tracking usage it is no where near 1.5 million.

I’m ashamed that the tech press buys into these “stuffing the channel” stories. That’s the kind of dreck we used to see reported back before blogs but now that the pressure is on to publish first we forget to think about the press reports we’re being fed.