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Hail Common Sense: AT&T Doesn't Get Windows Phone 7 Exclusive

At the end of last week, I was amused by the report that AT&T (T) was going to get a U.S. exclusive on Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Phone 7. It made no sense, but was a great subject for a parody. But according to John Paczkowski at All Things Digital, the original Wall Street Journal story was wrong.

It's been an interesting progression of news to watch. First AT&T was to have an exclusive. Then there was the rumor, based on an invitation for the October 11 launch event, that T-Mobile would be the exclusive carrier of choice. And that made even less sense than AT&T being the only carrier to have the operating system in this country.

The problem Microsoft faces is that it's not Apple with a unique phone and a chance to launch, in a big way, against a lack of competition. Windows Mobile has tanked in sales and the company has much to prove. Even though Windows Phone 7 has some good early reviews, the product isn't so overwhelming that it has become this season's must have. It's not even as though an initial advertising campaign was so stupendous as to be worth betting on.

So an exclusive made no sense. Many people hate dealing with AT&T, and Microsoft's product, paired with whatever hardware (and we'll see how good that turns out to be), isn't going to get people to sign up. It makes sense to go with someone else. Interestingly, you might have expected some hardware manufacturer to build something for Verizon. But perhaps the dreadful experience with the Microsoft Kin social networking phone has left it wary and waiting to see what happens to someone else first.


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