Microsoft gives out Windows Phone 7 numbers "that matter"

The software giant doesn’t think sales numbers matter.

But it did release a whole bunch of statistics about Windows Phone 7. In a post on the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft boasts that its Windows Phone Developer tools have been downloaded 1.5 million times, and 40% of registered developers have released an app.

That’s the surface of the extensive blog post, which seemed to focus on app data rather than actual sales data of Windows Phone devices.

The total number of apps in the Windows Phone marketplace? 11,500. 7,500 of these are paid apps. That’s a far cry from the hundreds of thousands available on the iTunes App Store. But then again, how many iPhone owners have downloaded 100,000 apps? In fact, how many iPhone owners could you find who have downloaded the exact same six or seven apps?

Microsoft emphasizes it is focused on quality, not quantity. And it says developer interest is very high. Windows Phone 7 users are downloading an average of 12 apps per month, so even though the volume isn’t there, the apps that are available are apparently appealing enough for users.

The company also points out submitted apps are approved in less than two days on average, far beating out the weeks-long ordeal that Apple developers have to go through. 62% of apps, Microsoft says, are approved on their first submitting.

To reiterate, though, among all these numbers, there is no sales data anywhere. Market analysis pegs Windows Phone at less than 5% of the smartphone market share right now, and it has faced PR blunders related to sluggish launch sales, delayed updates, and a lack of cooperation from one of its biggest carrier partners, AT&T.

But as everyone says, the smartphone race is all about apps. And if Microsoft thinks it has a shot of making developers choose Windows Phone 7 over anything else, then there may be some hope at the end of the tunnel.