Print 38 comment(s) - last by Xarthos.. on May 25 at 11:34 AM

  (Source: The Huffington Post)
Apple may still try to squirm its way out of exclusivity

Those who follow the smartphone industry knew that Apple and AT&T had a very tight contract with the iPhone which has compelled the electronics maker to stay AT&T exclusive to date.  However, it was unclear just how long that contract was good for, until now. According to unsealed court documents uncovered by Engadget, AT&T has exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the U.S. until 2012.

The documents come from a California antitrust class action lawsuit.  The plaintiffs claim that Apple attempted to create an illegal monopoly in 2007 when it failed to reveal that the secret deal would make it impossible for them to transfer their phones to other carriers in 2 years, without unlocking.

The case also accuses Apple of antitrust violations for blocking third party applications, a concern that still exists thanks to Apple's blocking of Flash and Flash ports, actions the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is currently examining for antitrust violations.

The court documents read:

The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not 'secret' either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the iPhone's release – stating, "AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world."
"[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T's] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years... Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power...

While the contract with AT&T is surely tight, it's possible Apple could payoff AT&T to cancel the contract, attempt to amend it, or declare it breached and fight it out in court.  There's a very real possibility, though, that it will simply stick it out till 2012, which would mean that 3 more years, and the next two iPhone models would be AT&T exclusive (in the U.S.).

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RE: 4G iPhone
By semiconshawn on 5/11/2010 9:46:05 AM , Rating: 3
Yey verizon, twice as much money so I can have 3g in whashatoe kansas...neat. Maybe if I was a truck driver or salesman. And poor under funded wimax clear how will they ever make it with broke investers like intel shoveling billions of dollars into them? As for LTE thats awesome, show me where I can sign up and use it. Today. Cause I use Clear right now and it works great ever tried it? oh no wait you read some tech articles and regurgitated someone elses opinions....

RE: 4G iPhone
By weskurtz0081 on 5/11/2010 1:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Used some 4G devices, they have since been returned. The 3G coverage with those devices was fine, but 4G was hit or miss.

So, IMO, it's not really a 4G vs LTE debate, it's 3G vs 3G until wimax has halfway decent coverage, even IN Houston the coverage is meh.

RE: 4G iPhone
By adiposity on 5/11/2010 1:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
I live in California Bay Area and Sprint coverage here is terrible compared to Verizon. That's not "whasatoe kansas," pal.

Verizon's coverage is better just about everywhere you look. Hell, any provider is better than Sprint, but I know that's just gonna make you mad...

RE: 4G iPhone
By retrospooty on 5/11/2010 3:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
verizon is $30 per month for unlmited. Who is doing that for $15?

RE: 4G iPhone
By seamonkey79 on 5/11/2010 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint does it for $10 unlimited.

That being said, I switched from Verizon to Sprint for a total of two days before I switched back because I tired of losing 'net when the 3G would drop.

My sister and brother-in-law live in Chicago, about 5 minutes from the United Center, and they just switched to Verizon from Sprint because the 4G box they purchased for their house kept dropping 4G and going to 3G, but not even much of that.

Sprint is a lousy network, even in larger cities (Chicago being a somewhat decently sized city). My Verizon phone works between Chicago and Joliet and down to Champaign just fine, but their Sprint phones hardly work in the city. The saddest part, the most telling point of poor Sprint service in their area? They switched to the Droid Eris and are impressed with its speed...

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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