The iPhone is lots of things to lots of people — but from a business standpoint, it’s the wedding ring between Apple and AT&T. And don’t expect this marriage to be annulled anytime soon…
Buoyed by the runaway success of the 3G release — especially at the consumer-friendlier retail price of $199 with a new (and pricey) two-year service plan — AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is bragging that his company is now "all about wireless." It’s certainly jacked up the cool quotient of the company, which briefly "disappeared" after being absorbed by Cingular, before reinstating its old corporate identity.
It also gave the 120-year-old (!) telecom company the oomph to reportedly renegotiate their exclusivity contract with Apple, which was originally set to expire next year. That would have meant that Apple could theoretically offer iPhones for Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc. — and with the US cell-phone market near the saturation point, where company A’s new customers must be poached from company B’s current customers, AT&T’s tech advantage could disappear overnight.
While nothing official has been stated, anonymous sources maintain the AT&T/iPhone pact has been extended until 2010.
[Via USA Today]