Sales of Windows Phone 7-based devices have been steady, if not quite the phenomenal success that Microsoft had been hoping for, with the company's hardware partners reporting 1.5 million handsets shipped in the first six weeks.

While the figures, revealed during a Q&A with the company's Windows Phone 7 head of marketing Achim Berg, show a steady demand for devices based around Microsoft's latest smartphone platform, they're certainly a long way from proving that the company has what it takes to catch up to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform.

The figures represent shipments of around 250,000 handsets per week, and while impressive are a far cry from the three million iPhone 4 handsets that Apple sold in its first three weeks. The figures also fail to stack up to Google's Android platform, which the company claimed earlier this month are being activated at a rate of 300,000 per day.

It's also worth mentioning that Berg's figures are for shipments from hardware partners, not for actual sales. While Microsoft itself will know exactly how many of the 1.5 million handsets have been activated and how many are currently sat in the retail channel waiting to be sold, it's not something the company has decided to share.

There's no denying that Windows Phone 7, officially launched back in October, represents a significant overhaul of the platform and introduces some impressive new features including customisable 'hubs' and support for the company's Xbox Live gaming platform, but it looks like Microsoft still has work to do if it wants to regain a significant share of the smartphone market.

Do you think that Windows Phone 7 has what it takes to compete with Apple and Google in the smartphone market, or is it too little too late for the software giant's chances? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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