AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has been talking a lot the last week. He first blamed wireless price hikes (increases he says he would have imposed anyway) on the blocked T-Mobile deal, then informed the public he wished he'd never offered unlimited data in the first place
. Now Stephenson has found himself in a little PR hot water by blaming Google on slow Android updates, and in the process illustrating that he's either not really sure how his own products work -- or he's just not particularly honest.
"Google determines what platform gets the newest releases and when," Stephenson stated this week in response to a conference question about why some devices don't get timely updates. "A lot of times, that’s a negotiated arrangement and that’s something we work at hard." That statement rather confused Google, who issued a statement
saying that Stephenson was apparently confused:
“Mr. Stephenson’s carefully worded quote caught our attention and frankly we don’t understand what he is referring to. Google does not have any agreements in place that require a negotiation before a handset launches. Google has always made the latest release of Android available as open source at source.android.com as soon as the first device based on it has launched. This way, we know the software runs error-free on hardware that has been accepted and approved by manufacturers, operators and regulatory agencies such as the FCC. We then release it to the world."
Again, you start to wonder if after the T-Mobile fiasco AT&T executives should just stop talking for a while. Quite often it's the carriers -- and their fear of change and layers of device bloatware -- that are to blame for update delays. Consider also while Stephenson's busy blaming Google for problems, AT&T is busy crippling the bootloaders of the latest and greatest Android devices
like the HTC One X.