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Chitika touts goofy stats: Windows Phone 7 being beaten by…Windows 98?

In news that doesn’t quite make sense, online ad firm Chitika releases some not-so-surprising stats: more people are using Windows 98 than Windows Phone 7 to browse the web. It’s not much of a secret that despite a high-profile launch back in October, Windows Phone 7 has gotten off to a slow start with consumers. So far, neither Microsoft nor its partners have been at all specific about how many Windows Phone 7 devices they’ve sold, but one indication might be how often WIndows Phone 7 devices are seen on the Internet. Online advertising network Chitika runs services across more than 100,000 publishers, and last month it said traffic from the iPhone and Android were beating Windows Phone 7 by over 100 to 1. This month, Chitika has offered up an even more-embarrassing metric: traffic from Windows Phone 7 devices is just barely over half the traffic Chitika still sees from systems running Windows 98.

Windows 98, of course, was released by Microsoft nearly 13 years ago. Most Windows hardware and software makers have long since dropped support for the operating systems, meaning the vast majority of Windows 98 systems on the Internet are leftover and hand-me-down machines that never have (and never will be) upgraded.

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Overall, Chitika finds that Windows 98 accounts for almost two-tenths of one percent of traffic on its ad network; Windows Phone 7 so far accounts for a little less than one tenth of one percent. Chitika does note that Windows Phone 7’s share is growing, albeit slowly: its traffic now amounts to 0.44 percent of combined traffic from iPhone and Android platforms (up from 0.4 in December), and “halfway to the market share” commanded by all other mobile Windows operating systems.

Windows Phone 7 launched in October with high hopes of resonating with consumers over the end-of-year holiday season, reportedly with a $100 million advertising campaign to back it up. Last month, Microsoft says over 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices have been sold to retailers, but offered no information on how many devices have actually been purchased by consumers.

Now keep in mind that Windows Phone 7 is a newly released mobile OS platform, and Windows 98 is a desktop operating system. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

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