The Verge has Steve Ballmer saying:
Ballmer says during Christmas, Windows Phone was selling five times more devices than the same period last year.
Using our old stand-in, Facebook Monthly Active Users, we can also easily confirm that many more new Windows Phone users joined the club in the last quarter of 2012, and in December 2012 6 times more new FB MAU were added than in Q4 2012.
Given that Steve Ballmer has access to the real numbers, and to a large degree validates the Facebook numbers, the question arises as to how many Windows Phones were sold exactly last quarter.
Gartner said 2759000 Windows Phones were sold in Q4 2011, and 4.6 times that is 12,305,140. Canalys said 2.5 million Windows Phones were shipped in Q4 2011, and times 4.46 that’s 11,150,000 Windows Phones sold. IDC did not have specific Windows Phone sales numbers for Q4 2011.
It seems however that it is likely that Windows Phone sales will top 10 million last quarter, which is good news for all concerned. Be warned however that shipments are not the same as sales, and some Q4 2012 sales may have been from shipments made in Q3 2012, making it very difficult to predict what Nokia will announce on the 24th January.
Update: CBS News has a more exact transcription, and has Ballmer saying:
“The new Windows Phones are incredible,” he said. “In November, we reported that sales were four times greater than the same time last year, and during the week of Christmas, we sold five times more phones than the same week last year.”
I do not think it materially changes the analysis except to introduce uncertainty about the other two weeks of December, and still suggests more than 4 times as many WP handsets were sold in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011, but does continue to demonstrate how cagey Microsoft can be when it comes to giving out usable numbers.