AT&T is cautiously optimistic about Windows Phone 7

AT&T CEO Ralph De La Vega admits Windows Phone 7 sales have been slow, but remains cautiously optimistic about the future of the Nokia-backed platform.

“[Yes], 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,” De La Vega explained during a recent interview with Ina Fried of AllThingsD

“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.”

According to De La Vega, the current iteration of Windows Phone 7 is the “first product” since Microsoft overhauled their aging mobile operating system, and for the “first thing out of the chute” is fairly decent.

“I think they just need to make it better. If you listen to what Steve Ballmer is saying, Mango 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.”

De La Vega also noted that while Apple currently dominates the lucrative tablet space, other companies and operating systems are ramping up their efforts to claim a piece of the action.

“I think you are going to see more and more people come in to look at other tablets that may look interesting to them. I think it is going to be up to the competition to challenge Apple, not only on the software, but also on the hardware. 

“What Apple has done very well is killer software, but the hardware is beautiful. I think they are raising the bar very high, but this is a competitive industry. I am pretty sure the other guys are not going to sit still and let Apple have all of that market share,” he added.