There is no secret that AT&T is one of Microsoft’s biggest launch partners for Windows Phone 7, but exclusive? That is what is being reported by the Wall Street Journal today. The article details information from “people familiar with the launch plans” as well as rehashing how Microsoft has lost half of it’s market share to Android in the last year.
Microsoft will receive the marketing support of AT&T, which will be the initial exclusive U.S. carrier to sell the Windows Phone 7 smartphones. AT&T plans to sell the devices the week of Nov. 8. Initially, the carrier will offer three handsets—one each made by Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc., and HTC Corp.—as it looks to diversify its portfolio of mobile devices beyond the iPhone.
I have a hard time believing that AT&T will be the exclusive provider in the US. I am not saying that it’s not true, but it just doesn’t make sense. I can understand a 3 to 6 month exclusive on a phone, but an entire OS, that’s crazy. That is what AT&T has with Apple, but it’s not just because of the OS, it’s the phones. With multiple OEMs producing Windows Phone 7 powered phones, I just can’t see Microsoft holding the swagger to ask those OEMs only to launch on AT&T and miss the income boat other carriers can provide. Verizon and Sprint are already out of the mix because of Microsoft’s choice to hold off on CDMA offerings, but what about T-Mobile. HTC is rumored to get the updated HTC HD2 with Windows Phone 7, the HD7. This just doesn’t make much sense for anyone but AT&T.
Either way, AT&T and Microsoft are set to unveil Windows Phone 7 on October 11th, 2010, in New York City and WSJ says that the devices announced will be available 4 weeks later. The leaked photos above represent a few of the phones expected to be announced. (from left to right: HTC Mondrian, LG Optimus 7, and the Samsung Cetus)