Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) barely gained Monday despite the much-covered unveiling of Windows Phone 7 at a press event in New York.
MSFT finished Monday up 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, to 24.59. In and of itself, Microsoft's insignificant gain on the day isn't worth mentioning. But coming as it did on the day of the big Windows Phone 7 rollout, it may say something about how Wall Street currently views Microsoft's prospects in the booming smartphone market. Investors certainly didn't react Monday as though Windows Phone 7 would make a tangible difference for the company's fortunes. And trading volume for Microsoft was about half the usual.
Contrast this with the market's reaction to Steve Jobs's announcement of the iPhone at Macworld on January 9, 2007: shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) soared 8.3 percent, and trading volume was about four times normal. That's because Wall Street recognized the iPhone as a game changer and Apple as an automatic contender in the smartphone market.
Clearly the street doesn't feel the same about Microsoft and Windows Phone 7. And no matter how "always delightful" Windows Phone 7 turns out to be, investors will be impressed only when that delight is translated into sales and meaningful market share.