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AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega.

"I think they just need to make it better."

AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega recently spoke with All Things D's Ina Fried at length about a number of issues, including the popularity of Android, why Windows Phone 7 devices aren't selling well, and whether or not the tablet market is actually going to take off the way analysts are predicting it to.

Much of what De La Vega told Fried about AT&T's business echoes the trends emerging throughout the wireless industry:
We’ve seen a dramatic shift from feature phones and quick messaging devices, which were texting devices only, into smartphones. We love that.
Android is becoming more popular. Our Android business is doing very, very well.
What Apple has done very well [with the iPad] is killer software, but the hardware is beautiful. I think they are raising the bar very high, but this is a competitive industry. I am pretty sure the other guys are not going to sit still and let Apple have all of that [tablet] market share.
He praised Windows Phone 7 for its design, but noted why it hasn't sold well: "Giving customers more application choices, having a bigger app store with more functionality on the phone, I think that is all that it needs."

"It hasn’t sold as well as Microsoft or us would want it to, but I think having the Nokia hardware capability with the Microsoft software capability is a really good combination," he said. "Keep in mind this is the first product that Microsoft has come out with since Microsoft redid their OS. I think for the first thing out of the chute it is pretty good. I think they just need to make it better."

He called Windows 8 "a huge win" for Microsoft, and noted that all of the smartphone manufacturers are now offering AT&T their tablets to carry (including the Motorola Xoom). "The question is which ones of those are good enough to stand up to the iPad. That’s a very high bar," he said.

As for BlackBerries, De La Vega wouldn't delve too deep into reasons why they haven't sold as well as in the past. "We just see customers, in some cases choosing other products rather than traditional BlackBerries," he said. "I think customers want more applications and [RIM is] going to eventually move to where they have one OS," rather than having both QNX and OS 7.

De La Vega also praised HTC, particularly for their UI, and noted that the HTC Inspire is selling very well. 

On another note, he said that AT&T is working with the industry to shrink the size and footprint of SIM cards.

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By damianrobertjones on 6/6/2011 9:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
"WP7 Not Selling Well and Other Notes of Interest"

What a great title; causal readers will pass this article and take only that title with them.


RE: Title
By cjohnson2136 on 6/6/2011 9:26:15 AM , Rating: 5
I agree I love my WP7 phone. I like the UI a lot more then Android. My wife who has an android wises she got the WP7 instead. The only thing that stinks is app selction but that takes time.

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: Title
By Mitch101 on 6/6/2011 11:50:05 AM , Rating: 3
Could be worse he could have purchased a Newton or Lisa PC. But I wont say they were bad devices just bad timing.

Kin failed because the carriers demanded high priced packages with the devices sale when it was supposed to be marketed as a consumer cost friendly device.

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 8:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
Newton was just little bit too big, and maybe a little too soon. It was a nice piece of technology.

RE: Title
By jvillaro on 6/6/2011 10:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
It was so nice it helped Steven Seagal save the day! -.-

RE: Title
By xaders on 6/6/2011 2:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
the turn off on smartphone is expensive data plan with 2 years contract is the reason to requirement and breaking it is expensive. Id brought a HTC HD7 on my own and they still require me to buy a $10 data plan. maybe offer data plan free WP7 and zune hd2 with more apps & games wont hurt. Bill Gates should promote the WP7 instead of Ballmar!

RE: Title
By Argon18 on 6/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: Title
By cjohnson2136 on 6/6/2011 9:39:16 AM , Rating: 5
Have you ever used WP7? Because calling it a turd when you have never used it makes no sense.

RE: Title
By chick0n on 6/6/2011 9:42:53 AM , Rating: 2
he obviously is a Apple fanboy, who can only use a dumbdown phone like iPhone, which is designed for retard to use.

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 10:46:35 AM , Rating: 3
Weren't the WP7 fanbois just arguing that their device was better because it was easier to use? You know, dumbed down to attract the retards.

RE: Title
By InvertMe on 6/6/2011 10:54:21 AM , Rating: 3
Dumbed down and easy to use are not the same thing.

RE: Title
By Mitch101 on 6/6/2011 11:57:56 AM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone 7 users are past the Windows 3.1 decade of icon driven interfaces like the iPhone/iPod/iPad.

But then Windows 3.1 had flash but we dont want to make your head explode.

Flash Player 3 - Windows 3.1

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 8:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the info! I knew Flash went back to W95, but I didn't know it went to 3.1. Impressive lifespan.

RE: Title
By MeesterNid on 6/6/2011 12:43:17 PM , Rating: 4
Have you ever used WP7? Because calling it a turd when you have never used it makes no sense.

Oh is that right!? Because there is a fine, long-standing tradition on this site for people to call all things Apple worse names than that when the vast majority of them have never used any of those devices.

RE: Title
By Nfarce on 6/6/2011 1:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
This site is 99% PC the last time I checked. The Apple fannies have plenty other places on the web dedicated to licking Apple hairy ass.

RE: Title
By cjohnson2136 on 6/6/2011 1:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
Just cause the majority of people do it does not mean I do it. I don;t like Apple products because I have used them and prefer Windows over them.

RE: Title
By Omega215D on 6/6/2011 2:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
This was due to all the remarks Apple and their users have made on products that aren't Apple. Smug SOBs who are nothing more than glorified hipsters.

I speak as someone who has owned and used a Macbook and would probably get another in the future. Said Macbook just died despite sitting on my desk or in a protective case for most of its life. Now I have a 2007 Thinkpad T60 that is doing a better job of chugging along.

RE: Title
By Gungel on 6/6/2011 9:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'm much happier with my WP7 phone than that Android garbage I had before. Best music integration of any phone, and yes including the iPhone.

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 10:38:47 AM , Rating: 3
I should hope so.

It is the Zune Phone. Zune did music really well, it is a shame that consumers only buy Microsoft products that they HAVE to buy. The Zune was really well done.

RE: Title
By Mitch101 on 6/6/2011 12:02:26 PM , Rating: 3
My Zune lives on in my car permanently connected to the usb port. Wireless sync was built in since the first generation. When I pull into the driveway any songs on my PC wirelessly get pushed into the Zune 30 in my car. You only need to right click on music and send to device. How simple.

If you get it right the first time you dont need to redesign it every 6 months.

RE: Title
By JediJeb on 6/6/2011 4:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
If you get it right the first time you dont need to redesign it every 6 months.

I guess that is why I am still using XP, though for me W2000 seemed less buggy and I could go a year without rebooting on it. At work I have tried using W7 a few times but can't find anything, takes me forever to get things done with it. Why do they always change things for what seems the sake of just changing them.

As for the above comment about W3.1 heck I liked it better than any of them.

RE: Title
By sviola on 6/6/2011 10:22:18 AM , Rating: 2
obvious troll is obvious.

RE: Title
By robinthakur on 6/6/2011 9:43:47 AM , Rating: 2
Do you own a W7 handset by any chance? Windows Phone 7 handsets are not selling well after 7 months after their launch. It's a fact. Most rational people could and have in fact predicted this before it was launched based on the industry sentiment, MS's giant advertising budget and the prevailing wind. Windows on a mobile is a tainted concept which anybody that used Wimo is not going to want to touch with a 10 foot bargepole. Also I think you meant 'casual'.

RE: Title
By MindParadox on 6/6/2011 9:50:46 AM , Rating: 3
I own one, and love it :)

RE: Title
By InvertMe on 6/6/2011 10:13:34 AM , Rating: 3
Most people who use WP7 phones love them. MS needs to figure out a way to make people realize WP7 is not WM and is they are "doing it right" now.

Also they need to figure out a way to make sales people stop pushing people away from WP7 to an Android device. If you go to a cell phone store an express interest in a WP7 phone the sales clerks will immediately push you to buy Android or iPhone. Fanboyism at ground zero is a killer!

For people bashing WP7 get over your preconceptions and try it. You will be impressed. WP7 is hands down the most fluid and easy to use (yet powerful) mobile OS out there.

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 10:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
Sales Reps like to sell two things. Devices that pay them a higher commission/spiff and devices that don't get returned. My understanding is that the decision was made to run lots of ads for WP7 instead of incentivizing the sales force. Return rate percentages at AT&T have been highest for WP7 (with Apple way out in front of Android, with WP7 last). Sales Reps sell what customers like and what makes them money. That is how sales works. Microsoft has been too dependent on leveraging their monopoly to actually try to sell their products.

RE: Title
By SPOOFE on 6/6/2011 11:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sales Reps sell what customers like

It's so true. Unfortunately, there's no reason customers can't like something for lousy reasons. I'm of the opinion that a not-insignificant percentage of i-Device sales come solely from those seeking to be trendy.

RE: Title
By ekv on 6/6/2011 1:50:56 PM , Rating: 2
Also they need to figure out a way to make sales people stop pushing people away
Good luck with that. But an excellent point.

You'd figure sales staff would be surrounded by the tech and they'd at least try it out. Or that MSFT would have specific ad material to "educate" sales staff. Not sure how that works.

However, with Win 8 around the corner, and all the tablets etc. that'll use it, perhaps the ad campaign will generate sufficient interest in consumers that would in turn generate interest in sales staff.

RE: Title
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 8:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
All this talk about W8 is just going to piss people off. To the larger market, W7 just got here. And most people just think of a nicer UI for XP without the Vista bugs. Much like the damn ribbon bars in Office, the average consumer doesn't see the need for newer stuff when the old stuff is barely used at full capacity.

RE: Title
By ekv on 6/7/2011 4:23:16 AM , Rating: 2
I know that it pisses me off. I like W7. I've got another build or two planned for W7. MSFT has a winner and they want to go fix it. Damnit, if'n it ain't broke....

And don't even get me started on the f'ing, excuse me, the crappy ribbon bars.

The alienating-consumers part of the equation is likely the largest risk factor, except for not-doing-something. If MSFT doesn't do something then there is a likelihood that Google's inferring 'Windows is irrelevant and you can do everything via the browser ...' may just pan out.

W8 is a really staggering move by MSFT (if you stop and think about it). I'm still pondering the repercussions of MSFT abandoning x86 exclusivity. It makes sense of course, but did you think you'd ever see the day? For me, I remember W95 being a "wow" upgrade. Etc. W8 running on non x86 processors? I never even thought about that angle.

Interoperability will be ... interesting, i.e. there'll be bugs to work out. But, my phone working like my desktop. Ease of use. I don't have to think about it. There's a quote attributed to Bjarne Stroustrop
I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.

W8 seems to address that problem.

RE: Title
By InvertMe on 6/7/2011 6:58:20 AM , Rating: 2
Just stick with W7 - it will be supported for years to come. So you have no worries about not moving to a new platform.

Windows 8 is exactly what some of my Docs want. I will be upgrading them ASAP but everyone else will stay on W7 for the next 3-4 years.

RE: Title
By lol123 on 6/7/2011 7:18:13 AM , Rating: 2
Windows hasn't been x86 exclusive for a long time (since the 3.1 days). Even Windows XP was available for Itanium, and Windows NT supported Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC and Itanium aside from x86.

It's also still doubtful that Windows 8 for ARM will be a full Windows version and not just a tablet OS sharing the same kernel. Offering the same edition of Windows for different architectures works when you are targeting enterprise customers (like with NT and XP for Itanium), but it would cause extreme confusion among consumers when they can't run any standard Windows applications.

RE: Title
By ekv on 6/8/2011 4:09:38 AM , Rating: 2
NT 4.0 was released a long time ago. Before XP. So, really, is it even usable, i.e. relevant?

Itanium of course is an Intel product. Intel basically defines the x86 ISA. Windows support of Itanium going forward is being dropped, no?

Windows CE runs on a variety of ISA's, but that gets into a rather pedantic discussion. So perhaps I ought not say "x86 exclusive" but instead talk about grafting ARM into the so-called Wintel alliance. Though that isn't really satisfying since Intel's reacting like they've been-thrown-under-the-bus.
Offering the same edition of Windows for different architectures
Your last statement doesn't quite add up because NT is (essentially) deprecated and Windows Server 2003/8 is what would be used instead. Consumers of course run XP/Vista/Win7. App's not specifically stated to run on Server versions are certainly not guaranteed to run there. However, in the consumer world of tablets, smartphones, etc., Win8 would appear to be designed to offer operability across such platforms. In other words, Win8 appears designed to run standard Windows app's on different architectures. This would reduce confusion, no?

RE: Title
By Gungel on 6/6/2011 10:14:15 AM , Rating: 2
The problem I have experienced is that Android phones are displayed up front. In some stores like Radio-Shack there are no WP7 phones displayed at all. When I bought my phone I had to ask the sales rep to get one out from the back. The first thing he said was "please don't ask me how to use it, we never received any training on this". Here is a tip for Microsoft, spend your money on training those store employees and have them push your OS and phone instead of wasting millions for an add campaign.

RE: Title
By koenshaku on 6/6/2011 10:29:55 AM , Rating: 2
I have been an Iphone user since the 2g, my parents own WP7 devices. I have played with them extensively and if Nokia offers a compelling handset with the mango update I would be willing to switch if apple doesn't update their outdated GUI on iOS 5. WP7 looks like the only next generation phone out there with their silky smooth UI.
iOS can live on in an ipod touch for me.

RE: Title
By Da W on 6/6/2011 11:33:41 AM , Rating: 2
Nobody except geeks have ever heard of a microsoft phone. That's the thing!
And yes it is good, not perfect, but gonna get better and i see far more integration possibilities with windows 8 tablets, destop, htpc and the like...

RE: Title
By jvillaro on 6/6/2011 10:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
Just wondering, did android sell any better in its first 7 months?

RE: Title
By SPOOFE on 6/6/2011 11:57:16 PM , Rating: 3
In terms of percentages, probably, if only because their entry into the market really sparked the level of competition we see today.

In terms of numbers? That's a little trickier; the smartphone market is still ballooning, so matching Android's sales numbers from a couple years ago (?) is a lot less significant today.

RE: Title
By Ramstark on 6/6/2011 10:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
I Agree, normally I like DTs "editorial" point of view and approach, but that Title is misleading, like some comments say, it will take the "casual" reader (and some Apple fanboys) just for the title ride, without realizing that a good product could be downsized just because of bad marketing or customer service...
The title should've been something like "AT&T's CEO on Windows Phone 7 and mobile market"

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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