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6/6/2011
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AT&T CEO Dishes On Windows Phone 7

The WP7 platform isn't selling as well as Microsoft or AT&T would like, according to Ralph de la Vega.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Revealed
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Slideshow:Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone Revealed
In a candid interview with AllThingsD's Ina Fried, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega shared some interesting gems about how the company looks at its competing smartphone platforms, and Windows Phone 7 in particular.

de la Vega joins other executives in bad-mouthing sales of Microsoft's smartphone platform. An LG exec earlier this year bemoaned the slow sales of WP7 smartphones. de la Vega's comments aren't all that surprising, especially since Microsoft hasn't released firm numbers about WP7 sales.

"We actually like that software very, very much," he said to AllThingsD. "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. They have to prove it by bringing some great devices to market. But I would love to have a great Nokia device with Microsoft Windows Phone 7."

The seeds planted by Nokia and Microsoft earlier year could eventually bear the fruit for which de la Vega so much hopes. Microsoft has offered up some solid smartphone software, and Nokia makes good devices. Put the two together and, there is certainly potential. de la Vega admits, though, that Windows Phone is still facing that version one visibility.

"Keep in mind this is the first product that Microsoft has come out with since Microsoft redid their OS," he said. "I think for the first thing out of the chute it is pretty good. I think they just need to make it better. If you listen to what Steve Ballmer is saying [Mango, the next version], is going to add about 500 features. I think they are going to make it a lot better. Giving customers more application choices, having a bigger app store with more functionality on the phone, I think that is all that it needs."

Well, that's not all it needs, but it won't hurt, that's for sure.

de le Vega also gave props to HTC for its devices, particular the Android smartphones it has assembled for AT&T. "I've been very pleased with HTC. HTC has come out with the HTC Inspire and it is selling extremely well in our stores. I think HTC has done a great job with the user interface. You go in and it is distinctive and I think other players are going to have to step up to that. I think you are going to see more people put a different UI on top of Android, like HTC has very successfully done. I love what they have done with their UI. It's very simple, but it is still Android. I hope others will step up to the plate and Android itself will get better."

Want to know what de la Vega sees less of? People buying BlackBerries. "We see customers in some cases choosing other products rather than traditional BlackBerries," he said.

Ouch.

Employees have more ways to communicate than ever, but until the mishmash of tools gets integrated, productivity will suffer. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek: A buyer's guide to enterprise social networking. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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