It looks like in light of Verizon Wireless’s strong marriage to Google with that carrier’s Droid releases, AT&T’s hedging its hope on Microsoft via Windows Phone 7 and Apple by way of the successful, successive iPhone launches. The carrier is stating that it will be the premier carrier for Windows Phone 7, whatever that’s supposed to mean is yet to be determined, but it does show a strong promise and commitment behind Microsoft’s forthcoming mobile OS, which has been met with both adoration and reservation by the press–both for its innovative OS and also for its lack of Twitter integration and a number of limiting factors such as no multitasking and lack of copy and paste. Perhaps, in light of AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity set to expire soon, the carrier and Microsoft could create its joint over-arching brand, much like how Verizon Wireless had licensed Lucas Arts’ Droid name for its high-end Android releases.
For its part, another way that AT&T is putting its weight behind Windows Phone 7 is that the carrier is speculated to have placed orders for up to 8 million Windows Phone 7 devices. That number is just shy of a quarter of Microsoft’s ambitious goal to sell 30 million Windows Phone 7 smartphones by the end of 2011.
Microsoft’s re-emergence into the mobile landscape with Windows Phone 7 is now marked by a lot of changes–first there’s Android, which is open-source. Also joining the race are Symbian, which has since gone open-source courtesy of Nokia, and also the Nokia-Intel marriage that resulted in MeeGo.
However, even with Apple as its close ally, AT&T is not shy of complimenting Microsoft. Sr. VP of Mobile for AT&T, Jeff Bradley says of Windows Phone 7 that Microsoft had “raised the bar substantially” and that the platform is “very, very comparable to any smartphone on the market.”