Trending: One year later, Microsoft AI and Research grows to 8k people in massive bet on artificial intelligence

Microsoft’s “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge might not always be fair — focusing on speed tests where the Microsoft operating system has an inherent edge, and pitting experienced Windows Phone users from Microsoft against mere amateurs wielding iPhones and Android devices.

It also hasn’t been without controversy, requiring the company to apologize after one challenger lost on a nitpicking technicality.

But the contest, started by Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, wasn’t as much about fairness as it was about making a point, and a series of stats released by the company today suggest that the point has been made.

Microsoft says more than 50,000 challengers have been beaten by Windows Phone since the contest began, a 98 percent winning percentage for the Microsoft device.

Most of the contests took place in Microsoft Stores, where the company is offering a $1,000 gift card to people who prevail over Windows Phone, along with consolation prizes for those who don’t.

Now Microsoft just needs to see those numbers translate into actual market share.

By the way, GeekWire’s John Cook and I helped boost the tally when we had Rudolph on our radio show and podcast in February, and lost to him in an on-air speed challenge.

Here’s a new video that Microsoft released today …

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