How AT&T Scored Its Exclusive With Microsoft: Overheard Pillow Talk

Last Updated Oct 1, 2010 5:02 PM EDT

If AT&T (T) will miss its iPhone exclusive when, according to rumor and common sense, Apple (AAPL) begins selling the hot smartphone through another US carrier, it will have at least some consolation. The carrier gets an initial exclusive on Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Starting early November, AT&T will reputedly have handsets from Samsung, LG, and HTC that run the operating system.

It's a little surprising, given that Microsoft has taken such a hit in market share on Windows Mobile and badly needs a big boost. Of course, both AT&T and Apple rode the exclusive arrangement to hefty sales. So I decided to snoop and came across a transcript of some pillow talk between AT&T and Windows Phone 7. It explains a lot.

AT&T: So, excited?

Windows Phone 7: You mean about the October 11 launch date? Yes ... and a little nervous.

AT&T: Well, it will be your first time.

WP7: But still, I'm not shipping.

AT&T: (hesitates) I ... I actually wanted to talk to you about that.

WP7: (blushes) You're embarrassing me.

AT&T: Please, hear me out. I'd ... I'd like to be exclusive.

WP7: Oh, my. I don't know what to say.

AT&T: I just think it could be so good for both of us. I mean, you want to make sales. I want to make sales. We're meant for each other.

WP7: Well ... sure, of course I want to make sales. But that's just it. I'm so far behind the market now and I need to be, well ... (blushes) ... in front of everyone I possibly can. You see ... Wi-Window Mobile ... (breaks into sobs)

AT&T: I know, I know, it must have been brutal having to watch all that.

WP7: (catches breath) I can't even begin to say. But ... (pauses for a moment) ... you already have an exclusive. With ... it.

AT&T: ( Quickly tries to think of something to say.) Oh, technically, yes, but ... we've been growing apart. You see ... iPhone ...

WP7: (painfully) Ahhhhh.

AT&T: ... has been calling me ... inadequate.

WP7: (looks up) Really? Oh, that's terrible.

AT&T: And that's not the worst of it! I always have to give more and more and more. (to self) It's never enough. It's never been enough. It never will be enough.

WP7: I am sorry. I never realized.

AT&T: (sniffles) I try to hide it, to smile through the pain. But I can't any more. It's not fair. I mean, I do my best...

WP7: Oh, I'm sure you do.

AT&T: But ... I understand if you can't be exclusive. After all, you need someone bigger. Faster.

WP7: Oh no! No, I'm not that way. (pause) I understand what it's like not to be ... wanted.

AT&T: Then ... you'll do it? You'll be exclusive?!

WP7: (demure) Yes. I will.

AT&T: Oh, I am over the moon and past the FCC! T-Mobile and Verizon will just have to wish they had what we'll have.

WP7: Just promise me one thing.

AT&T: Anything. Anything!

WP7: That ... you'll be gentle.

AT&T: Of course. You'll hardly even know that I'm making sales.

WP7: (aside) That's what I'm worried about.

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Image: RGBStock.com user betacam, site standard license.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.