A Microsoft executive has dismissed the iPhone's strong sales figures on the basis that the stats are down to the device's high profile launch.

Robbie Bach, the boss of Microsoft's entertainment & devices division, encompassing Windows Mobile, says the true test will be if Apple can maintain momentum in the long term.

Commenting on Apple's shipments of almost 6.9 million iPhones, Bach said the fact that Apple outsold RIM is not that significant.

"Apple had a big launch of a new product, and they launched at scale in a lot of new countries with a lot of new operators," Bach said.

"This quarter, RIM is having its big launch, and at some point we’ll have our big launch. We’ll have to see where things normalize."