AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

Summary: An AT&T executive talked up Apple's iPhone 4S and AT&T's launch, but also spent a lot of time giving Microsoft Windows Phone and Windows 8 props.

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Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resales and partnerships at AT&T, sounds a lot like a Hollywood executive: He pretty much loves everyone. All partners---Apple, RIM, Samsung, Google and Microsoft etc.---are "terrific."

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investment conference this morning, Lurie garnered a few headlines when he said that AT&T's churn rate remains stable even as Verizon and Sprint compete to sell the iPhone. However, AT&T's churn rates aren't exactly news---the wireless carrier has held its own as Apple diversified carriers to Verizon and then Sprint. "Our customers were very loyal, our churn has not moved at all," said Lurie.

Although Lurie talked up Apple's iPhone 4S and AT&T's launch, he spent a lot of time on Microsoft and its mobile plans. In a nutshell, Lurie thinks Microsoft can make a smartphone play in the U.S. and court CIOs in the enterprise. AT&T can get to 80 percent of sales coming from smartphones, said Lurie, who added that a third ecosystem will push those penetration rates.

Related: Nokia planning Windows 8 powered tablet debut in mid-2012 | Verizon CEO: There will be a legit No. 3 mobile OS

It's worth noting that carriers are dying for a third major smartphone platform. Why? Carriers don't want to solely rely on Apple and Google. Simply put, there's a rooting interest for RIM or Microsoft to step up and diversify carriers. Even with that caveat Lurie sounded decidedly upbeat about Microsoft.

Here are a few quotes from Lurie's talk:

"iOS has done well, Android has done well. I am actually a fan of the Windows devices. I am also very excited about Windows 8 on the tablet devices going forward."

And.

"I believe that Mr. Ballmer and the Windows folks are going to be aggressive as to what they go do, whether it's Windows Phone or Windows 8. The one thing that Microsoft has is they own the desktop and so if they can get eloquent and execute well around Windows 8 I believe that puts them back in the game in a big way."

And on Windows 8 tablets:

"The place that I think there is a lot of excitement, at least from a carrier perspective, is that today a tablet is viewed as an ancillary device. So if you are a CIO of a large company like yours, right, you go in there and say, great, I want to buy all of my guys and gals tablets. In today's environment and today's economy they got a laptop and a smartphone why am I buying a tablet?

I think the real big breakthrough is going to be when that tablet replaces the laptop, and I think we are starting to see some of that today. Many of you in the room may have not traveled with your laptop for a couple of days and you bring your tablet with you. I really believe Windows 8 has a very, very big opportunity to change that space and allow those CIOs to say, look, so now I am going buy you a tablet."

What about RIM? Lurie is hoping RIM succeeds too. "RIM is getting a lot of grief right now. I think when you look at RIM and what they have, you look at the QNX technology they acquired," said Lurie. "I wouldn't count them out as well. RIM still holds a nice share in the US. There is still a very, very nice share of RIM customers on the AT&T network."

In the end, Lurie just wants more competition. "We love competition. Our goal is to deliver the best thing to our customers and make sure they have what they want to solve their needs. But I do believe you are going to see a bit of a dogfight going forward between those OS players," he said.

Topics: Windows, AT&T, Tablets, Software, Smartphones, Security, BlackBerry, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Laptops, Hardware

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25 comments
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  • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

    Are you listening Verizon? Windows Phone is a force to be reckoned with. So add more than 1 WP to your line up.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • Im waiting for one, but it has to have 4G

      @LoverockDavidson_

      Verizon has way too many Droid's in its lineup
      otaddy
    • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

      @LoverockDavidson_

      Whatcha talkin 'bout, Willis?

      A force to be reckoned with, really? The latest Gartner global numbers show Microsoft was below even the obscure (outside of Asia) Samsung Bada OS...at 1.5% total sales in Q3 2011, down from 2.7% a year ago.

      And in all fairness, the iPhone did just fine when it had one model, the iPhone 4. I mean really, where's that reckoning force of WP7?
      gork platter
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @gork platter
        As the executive said, he is a fan of Windows Phone because he likes it and many that try and use it think its a great phone. Sure those that never use it and love their iPhone or Droid will bash it, but thats expected. You wouldn't happen to love one of those devices would you? I have been on Windows Phone for 6 months now and the phone is rock solid and never fusses and just works each and every day and best of all, its snappy has heck with minimal hardware. Not once have I had to restart the phone or pop the battery out, and I can't say so much for the previous Android devices I have had over the last few years. I will say the HTC Incedible was great, but still wasn't as solid of a device as the HTC Trophy is. I think he sees that himself and is why he is making a case that its something to watch out for. Also he may notice the return rate is probably very low and carriers love that!
        OhTheHumanity
      • So why does that worry you people so much?

        @gork platter
        That AT&T, and alot of people in general like WP7? Also, last years numbers also included( from what I understand) WM6.5

        So with Nokia just now releasing WP handsets, and other manufacturers stating that they are now starting to produce WP7 handsets, why does that seem to get the Android and iPhone owners in such an uproar?

        Why does it bother people so much that we WP7 owners didn't buy an Android or iPhone?
        William Farrell
  • Lurie should love all of his partners

    Not everyone thinks iPhone is great. You need a variety of products to pull in customers. The more variety the better.
    otaddy
    • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

      @otaddy

      The iPhone is outdated technology. It's yesterday's smartphone.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @Cylon Centurion Explain? I could say the same thing about every Android device and OS version then at this point.
        Bates_
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @Cylon Centurion [The iPhone is outdated technology. It's yesterday's smartphone.]
        Yet 1,000 people are choosing iPhones, for every 1 person that buys a Windows mobil v7 phone. Metro is a dysfunctional interface, and does not compare to a modern interface (Android, iOS). In Fact wWindows mobile7 is the third attempt at a failed interface.
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @OhTheHumanity are you truly that delusional? To claim that Windows mobile 7 is a viable option is the sign of a delusional person. Here is a news flash for you: The general public has rejected Microsofts latest lipstick on a pig OS. The zune failed, because it did not live up to the hype. The Kin failed, because it was overpriced. Windows mobile 7 will fail, because it is an overhyped version of the kin. Think of it as the kin 3.
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @Cylon Centurion
        Back to the future!
        jorjitop
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @Rick_KI
        Wow, it really seems you are worried about Windows Phone. May want to check your underlying reasons that you are trying to conceal with your rant against something you shouldn't even be worried about since you think its a complete and utter failure. Not sure who is overhyping their products, but from all the tech sites I read there are very few if any that call Windows Phone and the Metro UI complete garbage and a waste to even consider. And as for the Zune, it was a great music player with very good desktop software to boot. If you want to compare itunes to Zune you are just wasting your time and comparing modern designed software with old school 90's software. Many never even knew what Zune was and so how do you say people never liked it when they never even knew of it or used it. Just because someone has the highest sales doesn't mean that their product is better. Microsoft sucks ass at marketing and so they fail to get any attention from those that don't pay any attention. And I will enjoy my Zune Pass all day long and is a huge plus, but again, many do not even know it exists. How about you come back down to earth and pay attention to reality. And it sure is hard to beat a product that many people invest their emotion into and will not make a peep when their product fails. They just quietly get it fixed or replaced and act like nothing ever happened.
        OhTheHumanity
    • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

      @OhTheHumanity well that is your personal opinion. Fortunately the buying public, does not share your opinion. When a discontinued product has more marketshare, than the same companys latest, it shows a lack of confidence in said company. Remember Windows mobile Phone 7 has been out fir a year, and the general consensus is: do not buy it. I believe Microsofts lack of respect for endusers is starting to bite them in the ass. The Metro interface has been rejected in general, because it was a week late and $100 short. Given that within week of launch, the carriers had to do 'Buy one, get five free promotions to dump inventory, and with the highest return percentage of any device in history, Microsoft id delusional to believe they can foist their spyware laden trash on the public, and have everyone flock to their whims. Microsoft still refuses to give hard numbers on phone activations, because it would cause any developer foolish enough to hook their wagon to Microsofts anchor to leave instantly.
      Rick_Kl
  • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

    AT&T is just pretending that they are selling windows phones.
    AT&T does not advertise windows phones (only androids and iphones)
    No AT&T branded windows phones are sold in non-AT&T stores.
    Sales reps at AT&T stores do not want to sell windows phones. They usually steer customers to android phones.
    So, maybe AT&T exec is saying "dont' count out" but they are working hard to make sure that customers do not buy windows phones.
    paul2011
    • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

      @paul2011

      I bought a Samsung Focus S last week. Love it. Got sick of waiting for Verizon.
      jaciii
    • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

      @paul2011 That was then, this is now. AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia are training staff, putting WP7 incentives in place and just now starting the marketing/sales effort. Everything up to now was the soft launch. The real launch is holiday season 2011.
      Skippy99
      • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

        @Skippy99 So you???re saying this is the year of window mobile? People will laugh at you, if you say that in public. Windows fanboys are a funny bunch, they laughed at Linux supporters, yet when the shoe is on the other foot they claim the same things they ridiculed others for...
        Rick_Kl
    • RE: AT&T exec: Don't count out Microsoft or RIM in smartphone race

      @paul2011
      Well lets see. The smartphone boom happened a few years back and iphone and android led the way and garnered alot of attention and products sold. So as a business do you just jump off that train and get on another without any thought? Not good business if you ask me. Microsoft has a hill to climb and they have to stick it out to get attention and in the long run make a good showing. As far as business sense goes what you say above is pretty common thought and is not like they will jump over to promote Windows Phone overnight. If you read the article the exec said they were a "fan" of Windows Phone. A "fan" to me is someone that enjoys something and would promote it, so may want to wait and see what is to come. And they are selling all Windows Phones for a penny for the holidy season, so I think the promotions are hear and Nokia will be on At&t in early 2012 so seems they are doing stuff now to rebut what you are saying. Nothing happens in the snap of a finger in the real world.
      OhTheHumanity
  • Breaking news

    Salesman tells you that everything he sells is wonderful. Film at 11.
    Robert Hahn
    • Salesmen sell you what they understand

      @Robert Hahn
      and in many cases it is something along the lines of what they themselves have purchased.

      Salespeople need to learn how to qualify what a customer wants, and then direct them to a line that will suit their needs, something which I found the salesperson I delt with was incapable of doing.

      He continued to try to sell me an Android phone, something I had mentioned I did not want, yet he continued anyway. When I inquired about the specific phone I was interested in, one that operated on a completely different operating system, he looked perplexed.

      As I discovered once I asked a few questions on said OS, he could not answer my questions, instead having a co-worker assist.
      :|
      Tim Cook