Apple/AT&T Divorce: It All Depends On The App Store

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In what seems like the "Well, duh" moment of the week, Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty recently theorized that Apple could double sales of their iPhone by breaking their exclusive engagement with AT&T.

In other news, the sun is scheduled to rise in the east tomorrow morning.

But hang on — iPhone units are only part of the story.  Yes, there would be a jump in sales if, say, Verizon started offering an iPhone.  But the Death Star is also kicking back a big chunk of service fees to Uncle Steve for that little glass-and-metal gizmo — fees that would be negotiated downward once another player enters the field.  So the combined fees from two carriers might wind up being less that what Apple can gouge from AT&T as a solo act.

On the other side of the equation, AT&T is conversely racking in a fat chunk of dinero from App Store sales — money THEY'd be losing out on if the iPhone were no longer theirs and theirs alone.

Only when Apple loses out on more income from the App store than it gains by playing "stand by me" with AT&T will we see the breakdown of the Chinese wall that surrounds the two. More on this at PC Mag.

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