AT&T: Windows Phone 7 is "doing fine"

Jeff Bradley, AT&T senior vice president of mobile devices, answered a few questions to PCMag and what was said about Windows Phone was fairly positive, including the comment that WP7 is doing fine. While predictions for the platform are looking great and skeptics remain skeptical, it's almost comforting to learn that a massive carrier are pleased with how WP7 is performing.

"Mango will be the next event. With the timing of when [Windows Phone] came out and the timing of Mango, it didn't leave a natural period in between when we could introduce an interim round of devices. We're working very, very actively with the ecosystem and Microsoft."

AT&T have the HTC HD7S coming soon and Bradley mentions that their next wave of devices will feature Mango and new hardware specification. Of course, all current Windows Phone are upgradeable to 'Mango' but they will lack some relevant hardware like a gyroscope and new CPU make.

So, mixed reactions from manufacturers and now a somewhat positive answer from AT&T, what do you make of this? Typical PR or speaking the truth?

[Skeptic alert: You have to wonder if WP7 wasn't doing fine, whether Bradley would say so publicly. Our immediate thought would be 'no' and he would say something generic like it's "doing fine". Reason being it would sour the relationship with Microsoft, obviously. Of course without any sales numbers to go by, we still really don't know anything, do we? -dpr]

Source: PCMag, via: WMPU


Reader comments

AT&T: Windows Phone 7 is "doing fine"


I think "fine" is a way of saying they are selling some. Not a lot but some. I don't think they worry about their relationship with MSFT as much as it makes good business sense to paint any product you want to sell in a posstive light. Especially since they no longer have the exclusive on the iPhone. Having another potential draw to their network is wise.

I have seen the occasional Windows Phone at my company. I work selling accessories and there's a lot of competition so when I got to one of our rivals asking for a phone ( Optimus 7, the rarest wp7 out here) they don't recognize the phone but they do know it's windows since it has the Back, Home, Search combination. The Focus is still the one you see the most like for every 5 Focuses you see 3 HD7's and 1 Quantum and 1 Surround. I had yet to see my phone in the wild. ( Now where near as the Galaxies though but I do see more Focus than let's say Epic and certainly more than the motorola androids. ( Atrix, Bravo and Defy but that's because Verizon doesn't exist in my country so there's no Droids)

Translation: Not selling as much as we'd like. Still selling enough to continually support the platform. We are expecting an increase in sales in the future. I know we all want to hear that WP7 is putting up huge numbers, but the platform still has a few hurdles to climb. Sadly enough most of the challenges aren't because of the software (and most of those shortcomings will be fixed with Mango). The biggest hurdles are close minded salesmen who only want to push their favorite OS, less than impressive hardware in comparison to Android, iPhone

That's a certain problem, when I was looking at getting my phone one T-mobile salesman outright told me to not get the HD7, he told me they had some problems and people couldn't download apps. They didn't even had it on display which was troubling.AT&T on the other hand, had their WP7 phones proudly next to the entrance with the Focus in the middle, They are a lot more Focus than HD7 on the wild so advertisement is certainly important.

That was my experience as well, when I bought my Focus the sales staff said everything and I mean everything humanly possible including straight out falsehoods to discourage me from buying the phone. I'm sure, if I didn't know so much about phones I would have given up and got something else, so I can imagine how many potential customers are just walking out empty handed or with another product instead. I was so mad I left the store and went to a different store and that person did the same. I ended up ordering my phone online because I hated the idea of giving these guys a commission from my purchase when they tried so hard to get me not to buy it. The honest truth I suspect that WP7 sales are low because of sales people who hate MS products in general or use their bias to push iphones or Androids which is unsettling to say the least. This issue isn't going to be fixed by MS joining with Nokia. The only thing that is going to change this is if there is some incentive in the market place to sell these phones.

Ditto that for me. The salesman wasn't "pushy", but I definitely got the feeling that he thought I should buy something other than my Focus. Like you, if I had been an uneducated customer, I think AT&T staff would have steered me to iphone/android.

I would think at this level of sophistication of a gadget that most people have done their research online and shouldn't be relying on a sales person's opinion...

The general public knows nothing about phones except what they see in ads and hear from friends and collegues. When someone gose into a store they can be easily persuaded into purchasing what the salesperson tells them is the best option. Some people are more strong minded and know what they want, but most aren't. They need to be told what's good because frankly, aside of using the phone, they couldn't care less about it.

While at the local ATT store yesterday to exchange my Focus I asked the salesman and he told me that Win 7 phones were not selling great BUT that they are picking up since you can buy the focus for 49.99. It is going to take a while, maybe another 6 months when more handsets are available especially from Nokia. If Microsoft keeps improving the product it will eventually get marketshare.Microsoft needs to develop great exclusive handheld games through Xbox live, if there are must have games on the Win 7 phone that are exclusive, people will come.

I agree. They seriously need to leverage Xbox Live more with better gaming hardware. Since Xbox Live games go through a rigorous approval process, I don't see why they cant get some hardcore games that support normal input for the phone and gamepad controls so they can get some phones like the Xperia Play. This would also be a good option for a phoneless models.

Considering the Focus is without a doubt one of the (if not thee) most popular WP7 handsets in the US, "doing fine" seems pretty accurate. ATT just started selling the Dell Venue Pro andthe HD7S is just around the corner, and I know plenty of people will pick up either one of those. And it sure sounds like they expect WP7 to pick up steam at the end of the year when Mango and the next wave of devices start rolling out. Things are definitely looking up.

Microsoft needs to send some people to some stores to see how much resistance their phones are getting from the sales staff, it would blow your mind how bad it really is. I know my story is anecdotal but there are way too many of us who have had a bad experience (in my case two different stores and once over the phone) for it to be just an anomaly. The local store in my mall has never even had the phone on display or a poster, not even the fake ones on a wall, since launch until now.And what makes it worse is that these sales people are so uninformed about the platform it's crazy. I have had sales people tell me it is the original windows mobile device with a facelift and things like multitasking aren't coming to the phones because they aren't powerful enough to handle it so you should wait for a new generation. And every store I have ever been to doesn't have any in stock.

I work at an AT&T store selling phones and as much as I am a Windows Phone 7 fanboy, it's still very hard to push WP7 over other devices. I usually lose customers to androids though, never Iphones.The main gripe people have with Windows phones is the lack of customization. So many people want a custom background, custom ringtones and custom widgets. I've also lost a few customers to Droids and Blackberries because of the lack of Flash on the device.I really hope MS allows for alot more information on live tiles. Right now having a giant 1 next to your messaging tile or your email tile is just not enough when you have widgets on the android that let you see that scrolling. I don't see why you cant have your last test scrolling through your text tile...

Actually, we have alot of incentive to NOT cell the IOS. Commission for Apple products is the lowest. Otherwise commission is equal on other smartphones, its more based on what features we cell with the phones on the plans. And when it comes to that, more people tend to side with android because of all the things that you can do on the android that you cant on ours.

"I don't see why you cant have your last test scrolling through your text tile..."What if you were sexting though? :-}

I was in a wedding party in a table with 5 people with iPhone and 3 with BlackBerry. When I got my Optimus 7 from my pocket, it was instantly recognizable by 3 as a WP7, and all 8 asked me to "play a little" and all they liked a lot.I think it's just matter of time to this "Mouth-to-Mouth Marketing" start to make the difference and put WP7 sales on track.

WP7 NOT doing fine on Verizon...because it's NOT THERE.I swear if we got ATT signal at home, I would have dumped vzw last year. Alas zero bars at home and crappy coverage in SF make the choice to avoid ATT an easy one.

I've found my local AT&T owned stores doing OK by Windows Phone. The two I wonder into now and then both have WP displays up and dummy models on display. I can understand a sales rep showing a bias to a certain product- we're all human and we all have our biases, but when I've shown interest in a WP model, I've never felt pressured to look at Android instead. I think albertleao is right on the money about customers liking customization, and ringtone customization can't come too soon. I would argue that other than ringtones, WP is just as customizaable now as Android and more so than iPhone. If you want to see clueless sales people dis a WP, just head on over to Best Buy. Microsoft needs to amp up the marketing. More and more frequent ads and, for goddness sake, how about some marketing in airports, train and subway stattions, cabs, outdoor and all the other stuff that I see used by Apple and Google?

I just don't think Microsoft wants it to be that popular yet. We all know WP7 was released early just to get some devices in the wild and establish some marketshare. I'd bet they are waiting for Mango (with or without Nokiam but luckily with) to really hit the ground running. Things like not being able to add your own ringtones seem little but when someone ask if it's possible, it sucks to say no. Can I tether? No. Can I send video or audio through MMS? No. Can I upload videos to Facebook? No. IM? No. Video chat? No. There are so many nos for basic things. The things it does are great, but it's those basic things that have been around forever (except video calling) that really hurt the platform. It's like really? You couldn't establish a basic api so people can at least IM?I love my focus tho, wouldn't trade it for anything currently out there.

I posted my anecdote in the forums, but your comment about Best Buy was true for me. I showed interest in the Arrive (exchanging from an Evo) and, instead of talking up the phone I was interested in, the salesperson quickly suggested the Epic and Evo Shift. No good comments about WP7 at all, only doubts about its appeal over Android. The department manager did come and check out the phone a little while it was getting activated and did say he was "jealous," but I wonder if that was genuine or just pandering. Regardless, I'm in love with my phone and I'm glad I was more informed because I might otherwise have left with another Android device and not been as happy.As for more advertising, I agree with WixosTrix it's a smarter move to wait until Mango and the newer phones before they ramp up the ads.

Richard, your "Skeptic alert" was spot on. All corporate brass receive training about interviews. One of lessons of such training is the importance of minimizing subsequent need for damage control.What if Mr. Bradley had said the sales of WP7 phones were "poor" or "slow". Imagine the possible effect that might have on subsequent sales as well relations between Microsoft and AT&T. In the absence of any hard sales figures and a definable standard of performace, better the ambiguous "fair", which in the context of the statement is fairly meaningless.What is troubling is the following statement: "Of course, all current Windows Phone are upgradeable to 'Mango' ..." Did Jeff Bradley say that? From your post it's not clear. If so, that would be a surprise as it would constitute an explicit promise by AT&T that any owner of an AT&T WP7 phone prior to Mango's introduction will get the upgrade, even if only in deprecated form. Generally company brass aren't so specific. Even if that's genuinely AT&T's intention, for legally actionable reasons they rarely make such promises.Further, if you read the PCMAG article, mostly devoted to AT&T's Android plans by the way, Bradley mentions Mango only in the context of new devices.Finally, "While predictions for the platform are looking great ..." Really? Not that I know, or you know, but otherwise, did anyone take the referenced prediction seriously!?