It has been known for some time that AT&T (and most all other carriers) can, and do, block OS and software updates for devices on their networks, save for iOS which has kept this power from them. This particular petition stems from AT&T's blockage of the 8107 update for Windows Phone 7 (7.5 Mango, specifically). This update provides bug fixes for the disappearing keyboard, Gmail syncing fixes, and other security patches.
This update was released to carriers from Microsoft in January of 2012. At the time of writing this petition (March 26th, 2012), the update is still not available for early WP7 AT&T devices, and there is speculation that it will not be provided. Other carriers, like T-Mobile, have since released this update to their WP7 devices. While AT&T claims to be the "premier partner" with Microsoft on WP7, they are blocking critical updates and patches for seemingly no reason.
There have been many online forum posts about this topic, even on AT&T's own forums (see links below). Any questions to AT&T have been met with either a "We don't know about any such update," or "The update has not been released yet" response. Microsoft on its own blog post (linked below) has confirmed that this update is "available to all carriers that request it," confirming that AT&T is either not requesting, or simply ignoring, the update. Well-known Windows insider and blogger Paul Thurrott has written a several posts about the Windows Phone update process and the problems with it, both linked below.
In our constantly-changing mobile industry, users must NOT be denied access to critical software updates and patches. More information is accessed via mobile devices today more than ever, emphasizing the importance of OS patches and enhancements. If this broken process is to ever be fixed then carriers must step aside and stop blocking users access to updates in which they are entitled. All software updates should embrace the iOS model of NO CARRIER RESTRICTIONS! Cell providers have shown a complete lack of regard for their paying customers that have signed on to 2 year contracts. This is your chance to DEMAND carriers step up and do their part to ensure the best possible user experience! Sign this petition for a better mobile experience for everyone. Relevant links relating to this issue are posted below.
AT&T forum posts:
WMPowerUser 8107 article:
Windows Phone Blog on WP7 updates:
Windows Phone Update History (outlines 8107 changes)
Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows blog, outlining WP7 updates: