During a Q&A session at the Milken Institute's Global Conference 2012, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson talked at length about the wireless industry, but he also had some interesting comments about the slow roll out of new versions of Android, placing the blame largely on Google. "It's an issue," Stephenson said, in response to a question from the audience. "Google kind of determines what platform gets the newest releases and when. Often times that's a negotiated arrangement, and so that's something we work at hard. We know that it's important to our customers."
However, Google has taken issue with this, telling 9to5Google that "frankly we don't understand what he is referring to." According to the company, it currently has no agreements in place that require a negotiation before a handset is launched, but instead explains that it "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."
While Google didn't outright blame carrier delays for the problem, key people in the company have. Last month Jean-Baptiste Queru, technical lead on the Android Open Source Project, stated that a number of Google-engineered smartphones still don't have Ice Cream Sandwich "because of delays introduced by operator approvals." However, this shouldn't be as much of a problem now that Google is once again selling phones directly to consumers.