It looks like AT&T is taking a big bet on Microsoft’s upcoming Microsoft Windows Phone 7 smartphone operating system, as noted tech pundit Michael Gartenberg is saying the carrier has ordered 8 million units.
According to his Twitter account:
Interesting e-mail from a trusted source. AT&T has apparently signed up for 8 million #WP7 devices. #notkin
Gartenberg’s an old war horse in the tech space and he’s well-connected, so I don’t doubt the validity of this claim. There’s also no indication about over what period of time that’s over because that’s a lot of units. For comparison’s sake, Apple sold 8.4 million iPhone units last quarter but that included the launch of the Apple iPhone 4, which sold more than 3 million units in less than a month.
No one expects Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices to have Apple iPhone 4-like numbers out of the gates but that 8 million figure could make sense over a year or so. AT&T will be a launch partner and we already know Microsoft Windows Phone 7 will be on handsets from a variety of manufacturers like LG Electronics, Dell, Samsung, Asus and HTC.
The Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices could be a big hit with corporations and enterprise users because these handsets will have strong integration with Microsoft’s business software including Office, Exchange and SharePoint. These could immediately be a contender against Research In Motion, although the BlackBerry already has an entrenched base.
On the consumer side, the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 preview indicates the new user interface could be very visually appealing and the Zune multimedia software looks pretty good. On the downside, the Apple iPhone and Android are going to be tough to displace and the lack of cut and paste and true multitasking may hurt Microsoft’s chances.
Do you think AT&T will really sell 8 million Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices? Check out our hands-on video to give you some more insight on the latest smartphone platform.