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iPhone Business Model Hits a Snag in France

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the open-is-as-open-does dept.

Businesses 332

Serhei writes "It seems like the iPhone might not be released in France by this holiday season, since French requires by law that all cell phones sold there must be obtainable in an unlocked version. Apple will not be able to do so, since it has launched with a 5-year exclusivity agreement with AT&T. That deal will probably require exclusivity worldwide to avoid grey-market imports. (In return for this agreement Apple receives a large share of AT&T's monthly revenues from iPhone subscribers.) If the iPhone falls through in France, the country can join Belgium and a potentially long list of other countries with unlocking laws, whose Apple fans will have to make do with other, less Apple-y phones. Note that there is currently no mention of the iPhone on the Apple France page."

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Yay (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882679)

Good for France.

Viva la france (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883209)

For those of US in the UK, let's campaign to copy them in this law, we could adopt their policy on the Monarchy too, we better get sharpening... ;)

France? Heh. (4, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883439)

I bet the French even mandate that you use Arabic numerals on all cell phones. ;-)

Good news! (5, Insightful)

OdinOdin_ (266277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882685)

This is excellent, it means those EU countries which won't accept iPhone will have to churn out something thats a whole lot better, this is good news for consumers!

Un message de Nicholas Sarkozy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882721)

Dear Slashdot community,
Steve Jobs has made a real mistake with the iPhone. It has no keyboard, no third party software, and is locked to one network. Unlike the U.S., the French care about quality. You can tell by the quality they put into the Renault Espace. French want quality. That's why they want a Windows mobile phone.

Very Truly Yours,
Nicolas Sarkozy
President of the French Republic

Re:Un message de Nicholas Sarkozy (1)

Beretta Vexe (535187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882925)

At this time Nicolas Sarkozy is totally drunk with the French XV, celebrating the victory over the All blacks. So it's a fake!

Re:Good news! (1, Redundant)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882821)

I am sure that Apple are in legal hot waters in the entire E.U. It is my understanding that tying the sale of one product (the iPhone) to another (a mobile phone contract) is illegal anywhere in the E.U. Probably why phone unlocking is common place in the E.U. You can get around it to some extent if the phone is being subsidised by the mobile phone company. However by all accounts this is not the case with the iPhone.

Re:Good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883071)

Mobile phone unlocking is popular everywhere except North America because as soon as you buy
a phone, no matter how subsidised, it's YOURS. You can do what you want with it, including
unlocking. The only thing the network operators own is the SIM card, you lease it from them.

However, I doubt Apple will be in trouble for new firmware updates bricking modified iPhones, as
you've tampered with it. Apple have no obligation to support hacked versions of their products.

Re:Good news! (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883093)

You understand wrong - there is no EU wide law making the tying of products illegal, otherwise the entire mobile market in the UK would have been in deep shit years ago.

Re:Good news! (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883161)

You understand wrong - there is no EU wide law making the tying of products illegal, otherwise the entire mobile market in the UK would have been in deep shit years ago.
That is what the GP addresses with this:

You can get around it to some extent if the phone is being subsidised by the mobile phone company.

Re:Good news! (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882847)

good news for consumers!

No, it means they can't get a product they want. It doesn't mean that they can get the product on different terms than the rest of the world can.

-jcr

Re:Good news! (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882973)

It doesn't mean that they can get the product on different terms than the rest of the world can.
450 million costumers = they'll change the business model.

Re:Good news! (2, Funny)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883789)

450 million costumers? Man, I knew the EU was into theatre and Hallowe'en is fast approaching, but that seems a little high to me...

Re:Good news! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883155)

You miss the point. See, the iPhone sucks. This is beyond being a matter of opinion, it is a universally accepted fact among those who do not have their heads lodged up their ass. With the iPhone not an option, French customers who don't know any better will have to "settle" for a phone that doesn't suck. Get it now?

Re:Good news! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883855)

Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Ballmer. How's that Xbox recall coming along?

-jcr

Re:Good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883943)

Aww... What's wrong? Did your daddy lose his job and he can't buy you one?

Re:Good news! (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883517)

what are you dense or something? apple isn't holding france to ransom over the iphone, apple is missing out on sales in france. you have the issue back to front my friend.

Re:Good news! (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883881)

So HTC makes the Tornado. Mine says T Mobile SDA. In other countries it's an SDA Music or SDA Music 2. It's also sold with slight variation as i-mate SP5m, QTEK 8300, and Xda Xphone.

What's to stop Apple from creating an EUPhone which is similar to the iPhone but not really the same product? Is Apple tied on all of it's phones world wide to AT&T or just the iPhone models? Or can they release a different phone in EU?

Re:Good news! (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882851)

There are many phones that are available in Europe which still don't seem to have seen the light of day in the States. We're not short of choices. Now I'm not sure what particular iPhone capability is seen as being the world beater (I'm one of those old, boring people who just uses my telephone to talk to people....) but I feel that there is still plenty here to make iPhone much harder to sell than perhaps it is in the US.

Re:Good news! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883505)

This is excellent, it means those EU countries which won't accept iPhone will have to churn out something thats a whole lot better, this is good news for consumers!

Oh yeah, a good thing consumers there have less choice, they never buy what's best for them, unlike us who know better, it's a good thing their choice is being restricted to what we deem better for their clueless self.

Re:Good news! (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883543)

EU is the land of unlocked phones and your trying to tell us THEIR the ones with a lack of choice? are you seriously suggesting that a locked phone == more choice?

if you believe such things, then i have some moon land to sell you....

Re:Good news! (2, Insightful)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883545)

Good news for consumers... unless they're in Europe and want an iPhone.

Let me get this straight.... you REALLY think such regulation would prompt somebody to make a better phone than Apple?

Why would they?

They no longer have to!

If I were a phone maker, I'd say, "Thank you for locking out our toughest competitor."

Score another one for corporations who scam consumers into thinking regulation is good for them. Pay attention, this is how it's done folks.

Re:Good news! (0, Redundant)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883775)

There are already shitloads of better phones then the iphone. all of them unlocked and in the EU.

And apple aren't locked out, they have every oppertunity to supply the iphone as long as they play by the laws of the country they are trading in, just like everyone else.

This is score one for consumers, by disallowing stupid vendor lock in.

Re:Good news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883737)

France and Belgium amount to around 70 million people. I guess Finland doesn't allow locking, so make that 75 million. Other countries allow the sale of locked phones but mandate unlocking after some period of time or for a fee. Just poking around I hit 190 million in Europe without trying hard. The real question becomes, how many potential customers can Apple afford write off?

Finland does allow 3G simlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883875)

Finland allows simlocked 3G phones, but they disallowed locked 2G phones.

Re:Good news! (1)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883973)

The whole AT&T lock in has got to be one of the biggest blunders in Apple history. I can't see how it has done anything but damage Apple's reputation.

No worldwide exclusivity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882695)

Look at the German page, you'll see that T-Mobile is the exclusive carrier there.

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (5, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882745)

See? We should have let the Germans keep France.

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883183)

Too bad you got modded troll. That's the funniest post I've read all week.

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883201)

I agree with the other poster, that was hilarous. Have a sense of humor mods!

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883359)

Haha, that is funny. Thank you.

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20884089)

that was damn funny. too bad you can't get mod >5

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882765)

Yeah, that already pretty much invalidates the story.

What, did someone read a story and just draw a bunch of conclusions (without doing any further research, on top of that) and then submit an alarmist reaction to Slashdot?

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882767)

Look at the German page, you'll see that T-Mobile is the exclusive carrier there.
Yes, but the German version will be locked to T-Mobile Germany, so this is no competing product to AT&T in the US. But if an unlocked version would officially available in France, nothing would stop people from reimporting them to the US and using it there, without the control of AT&T. So the (not world wide but US) exclusive deal of AT&T with Apple might prevent Apple from offering an (official) unlocked version anywhere.

AT&T requirement is US only, not worldwide (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882815)

The summary is a bit off on that point. But I imagine Apple will still hold out, with Orange, for the best deal they can leverage.

Re:No worldwide exclusivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883371)

No, the submitter means that the AT&T exclusivity deal implies that the iPhone must be exclusively tied to a provider in each market that it's provided in. That doesn't necessarily mean that all of those providers have to be the same company. If it wasn't locked to a single provider in one market, people could import the unlocked version from that market to get around the lock in in their own market.

Exclusivity - bleh (3, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882719)

Exclusivity deals with a sub-desirable carrier is working against Apple but "Designed in the USA" is probably hurting them worse in France. Next.

Re:Exclusivity - bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882737)

You underestimate the zealotry of mac fanboys.

Re:Exclusivity - bleh (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882785)

I am one and still say "bleh".

Americans are Der Juden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882825)

Americans are Der Juden

Re:Exclusivity - bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882893)

Uh, stop drinking the RNC/PNAC koolaid. While the French, like most world citizens, foster an anti-Americanism among their intellectuals, in the computer world, that translates into a hatred of Microsoft. They like their Apple toys here. Of course, if they can't get an iPhone, they'll have to get whatever Nokia offers.

But FUD aside, the exclusivity deal is for the product known as the iPhone. Something else, perhaps with 3G support, would not be excluded. Or am I wrong?

I mean, prince did the same trick to get out of his contract with Sony. Just rebrand it something unspeakable, like "Le product jadis connu sous le nom de iPhone", and be done with it.

Re:Exclusivity - bleh (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883869)

Oh come now. Although I don't want this to turn into a political flamewar, France doesn't have any sort of pervasive hatred toward Americans.

Yes. France disagreed with the U.S. about Iraq (and yes, even though their reasons for doing so weren't the most honorable, it's fairly safe to say at this point that they were on the "right" side of the debate). However, this was a criticism of a matter of foreign politics and policy, and not some sort of personal vendetta against the entire population of America (especially those evil industrial design firms in California!)

It was the US who took the issue way too far. Even though it was a joke, serving "freedom fries" in the senate cafeteria was terribly crass.

Surprise! The world does not hate Americans by default. Most of them don't approve of what the government's doing, but neither do 70% of Americans these days.

something is missing (4, Informative)

microcars (708223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882725)

I find it very hard to believe that Apple Legal did not see this coming.

also- from the link, the "5 year exclusivity agreement with AT&T" is only for US Distribution.

Re:something is missing (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882855)

from the link, the "5 year exclusivity agreement with AT&T" is only for US Distribution.

Yes, hence the comment about grey-market imports. It's unlikely that AT&T would be happy with the iPhone being sold unlocked in any country, as those unlocked phones could then be imported into the US, despite the exclusivity agreement.

No, it wouldn't be as easy as if the iPhone was available unlocked in the US, and yes there are ways to unlock an iPhone, but that's not the point. If I were at AT&T and negotiated the deal, I'd have made damn sure that Apple were bound not to sell the iPhone unlocked anywhere, to make it that bit harder to obtain an unlocked one. Remember, you don't have to make it impossible, just hard or risky enough that that people can't be bothered.

Re:something is missing (1)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883627)

Yes, hence the comment about grey-market imports. It's unlikely that AT&T would be happy with the iPhone being sold unlocked in any country, as those unlocked phones could then be imported into the US, despite the exclusivity agreement.

Happy, schmappy. AT&T knew what they were buying and Apple knew what they were selling.

Nobody in this thread knows how long the AT&T exclusivity deal lasts or what restrictions there are on sales of unlocked phones in other countries. The article's claim of a five year deal is not necessarily entirely accurate. I have also heard that its a two year deal.

It is also quite possible that whatever deal there was a few months back has changed since. Apple's price cut was probably made possible by new sweetners from AT&T.

AT&T has an interest in preventing unlocked phones becomming available in the US market. They also have an interest in the iPhone being as popular a phenomena as possible.

The Apple and AT&T execs may or may not have screwed up, we do not have the data to tell. The success of the iPhone suggests that they know what they are doing.

Re:something is missing (-1, Flamebait)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883023)

I find it very hard to believe that Apple Legal did not see this coming.

also- from the link, the "5 year exclusivity agreement with AT&T" is only for US Distribution.


God knows how they didn't see it coming, but yes, it's US exclusivity, so that's a poor excuse. It's not above Apple to blame it on their partners when they screw up though.

Why iTunes has DRM? Content producers wanted it! Why is iPhone locked to third party apps? Cingular wanted it!

Now if they don't release in France, it'll be Cingular again (AT&T that is). I suspect AT&T doesn't give a s**t about France and the few gray import units that may result from this.

The big problem is Steve Jobs is control freak, he has to control the full experience, and make maximum money out of it.

On one hand that's commendable and because of Steve Jobs Apple is what it is today. On the other hand that's sad and because of Steve Jobs Apple is what it is today.

They'll just lose the market in big part of Europe while they're fidgeting with little deals with local service providers.

Don't forget, Nokia, LG and SE are working on iPhone clones as we speak. And those will be open to all providers. Apple is missing their chance.

Re:something is missing (1)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883403)

They have Minitel in France, what do they need iPhones for?

What do you expect from surrender monkeys??? (-1, Flamebait)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882743)

What else can you expect from such an anti-business country?

Re:What do you expect from surrender monkeys??? (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882833)

Consumer protection, how last century dahling.

The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882751)

In the end, the iPhone has turned out to be a real disaster. It's Steve Jobs' Segway. He signed the deal with Satan himself (AT&T), and done onerous things which has absolutely killed all the fan base that Apple spent years building up. If only the they hadn't gotten greedy and wanted shares of the monthly phone charges, then they could have released a universal unlocked iPhone and everyone would have been happy.

Too bad. I got an N95.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882857)

In the end, the iPhone has turned out to be a real disaster.

It sold a million units in 75 days. How can I make my next product a "disaster" like that?

-jcr

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882919)

With a potential of several billion phones, I'd sat not that good. But then again, a lot of people will always buy new stuff, and of course all the Apple fanbois. It will be more interesting to see the sales figures over the first few years and then form a more valid opinion than based on the first 75 days.
Personally, I was interested in the iPhone, but I'm an old fox, so I decided to wait and see and right now, I will never buy one. I don't like the way Apple and AT&T did this, nor do I like what is currently happening, so I vote with my wallet.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883243)

With a potential of several billion phones, I'd sat not that good.
That's a quite impressive number - that's like one in three on the entire fucking planet [wikipedia.org] getting an iPhone.

You, sir, should obviously be in charge of Apple Corp. fortwith. I shall immediately write a letter to the shareholders so that they will demand you be hired, first thing Monday.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883271)

Forthwith, of course. It's 1 am where I am, and I haven't had enough coffee, please bear with me.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883457)

Well, with over 2 billion cell phones in circulation in January 2006, I would imagine the number have increases somewhat, so yes the total world market is a few billion. http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=707714 [google.com]

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883645)

Well, with over 2 billion cell phones in circulation in January 2006, I would imagine the number have increases somewhat, so yes the total world market is a few billion. http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=707714 [google.com]
That is a somewhat different ball game than your previous post; it is true that there are billions of phones in use all over the world. What your post then implied was that the Apple iPhone had the potential to be an instant de facto monopoly by conquering that market within 75 days.

jcr: sold a million units in 75 days.
IdleTime: With a potential of several billion phones, I'd sat not that good.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883577)

Let's look at the factors going against the iPhone grabbing the entire mobile phone market: A company with zero reputation in the mobile phone market (1) releases a very expensive (2) 3G (3) smartphone (4) whose main selling argument is its nice UI (5).

Even if you exclude those who prefer a simple phone over a smartphone, thus eliminating problem number 4, you still have four very solid reasons against buying an iPhone vs. buying another mobile. It's expensive. It doesn't do UMTS or HSDPA. It's not quite robust. It doesn't have killer features not found in cheaper mobiles. Apart from being insanely stylish, the iPhone jut doesn't have much going for it towards capturing the whole market.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883207)

Well, let's just say I was going to buy a Macbook for my next laptop (in a year or so), and it was going to be my first (non-secondhand) Apple purchase, if for nothing else, because it's the only laptop that can claim to run three major operating systems natively. But with all the bad things I am hearing about Apple, esp. with the iPhone and other vendor-locking tactics, I am now not very likely to make that Macbook purchase.

And, oh, I'm going to be telling all my friends about it too.

N95 sold 1.5 million in 90 days (1, Flamebait)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883301)

How can I make my next product a "disaster" like that?

First, you want to be obligated to buy twice as many as you actually need. This doubles your production cost. Apple was in negotiations to cut production in half [thestreet.com] just a month after the launch.

Next, you want to be forced to drop the price of your product to sell what you are contractually obligated to buy.... Let's say from $599 down to $399. With a raw materials cost of $250 per unit, you can totally blow the other $150 on packaging, shipping, advertising, support, and your fixed development expenses. If you do it right, you might even be able to loose money on each unit sold.

Finally, you really want to piss off the handful of people that do buy your product so they'll never buy anything from you again. Make sure you do things to really anger the most enthusiastic fans you have. Illegally void their warrantees, "brick" their product with an update, that sort of thing.

There, that should do it. And if your company depends on the success of the product, all the better. That way, when the numbers hit Wall Street, your stock will plummet and the investors will demand your head on a plate and start filing lawsuits.

-fan

Re:N95 sold 1.5 million in 90 days (1, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883959)

Apple was in negotiations to cut production in half [thestreet.com] just a month after the launch.

According to an unfounded rumor by Scott Moritz. Sorry, that doesn't hold water.

-jcr

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883437)

Vista has sold many times that number of units but that doesn't stop people from saying it isn't popular and/or a disaster.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883673)

In the "famous" 74 days that sold a million iPhones, there were 3.5 million Windows Mobile phones sold. There were 11 million Windows Mobile devices sold last year with a projected 20 million for this year. That means even Microsoft's platform will double Steve's goals for iPhone sales (and most don't regard Windows Mobile as being a home-run to date). Headlines don't count; sales do.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883069)

It's not a disaster yet. I have at least two users at the office with iPhone and they are 'in love' with them for the moment. One even converted to Mac in the process. They are "forgiving" of all the shortcomings encountered thus far. Somehow the "coolness" outweighs the negatives for the moment.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883409)

I'm in the UK and have yet to see an iPhone, apart from the touch screen, can someone explain to me exactly why the iPhone is superior to my current one: a Nokia 6070 [nokia.co.uk] ; a low to mid range phone. Given that, how can it possibly be better than something like an N95 [nokia.co.uk] ; a high end phone. The only real feature I can see from the apple website [apple.com] is the touch screen, not really my priority in a phone. I just want something that can make calls, and send the odd SMS. Having a camera and a radio in my phone are bonuses that I hardly ever use (actually, that's a lie I've started to use the radio quite a bit recently). The only other way that apple tries to show it's differences are via it's ability to sync to my PC, but even my phone can (and does) do that with a data cable and software from Nokia.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883533)

I'd say the UI. After playing with the N95 I came to conclude that Nokia's UI designers must be blind and got another phone instead.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883991)

You're post reveals you aren't in the demographic the iPhone is marketed to. It's easy to say "I don't need this" and "I don't do this" but all you are saying is that you are not in the marketing demographic of someone who would buy a smartphone or an iPhone. If you just make calls and text message, then you are in a completely different category of customers. Personally, I think the iPhone is overhyped as well, but even so it's aimed at different user base. The touch screen, the camera, and all that other good stuff IS what makes the iPhone "better" to the consumer who is looking for that sort of thing.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883355)

I am just waiting for my current cell phone to die. Then it is iPhone all the way. I do not think Apple selling more than a million iPhones in the U.S. alone is a disaster. Even without the price cut, I would probably be looking to buy. Not that this affects my computer purchasing any. My inherited MacBook runs great. If I had money in the budget, I would be buying a 24-inch Aluminum iMac to replace my aging desktop. Nah, the iPhone is doing fine. Apple is doing fine. And the kids are all right.

Re:The iPhone will be known as Steve's Folly (2, Insightful)

lp-habu (734825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883381)

In the end, the iPhone has turned out to be a real disaster. It's Steve Jobs' Segway. He signed the deal with Satan himself (AT&T), and done onerous things which has absolutely killed all the fan base that Apple spent years building up.
Wow! Your insight has provided you a golden opportunity to get rich! All you have to do is sell Apple short, sit back and wait for the money to roll in!

US legality (2, Informative)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882755)

Wasn't there a case this year and a law passed where phone could legally be unlocked by the consumer. Cell phones and printers [wired.com]

Re:US legality (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882911)

It certainly can be legally unlocked. Plenty of people have done that with no legal repercussions at all.

Enough with this, we fucking know by now (1, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882799)

Yes, we know. This should frankly be all of Europe since the laws governing this thing are QUITE clear to us now, now that everyone and their brother on this site has given us quite the legal education with regard to cell phone unlocking in the EU. I'm sure Apple with either comply with the law or just not sell iPhones in jurisdictions where they feel they can't comply with the law. They generally don't act quite like Microsoft in the "I don't care what the law says, I'm MICROSOFT!" way. From the sound of it though, it seems no one in Europe will care, because they apparently don't want iPhones, they want phones that do X Y and Z that an iPhone doesn't do. Apple's so dead.

Do we need 50 BILLION stories about this? "OMG IPHONE SUX, APPLE SUX 2 LOL" I'm expecting to be the next story down the pike. How many of you people are so stupid as to buy an iPhone, when anyone who bothered to look saw that it was locked into AT&T even in the months and month of preview hype.

Re:Enough with this, we fucking know by now (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883923)

From the sound of it though, it seems no one in Europe will care, because they apparently don't want iPhones, they want phones that do X Y and Z that an iPhone doesn't do.

Pretty much the shape of things, I think. Between Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson, there's little enough room for this overpriced market entrant. And since we're already used to being able to transfer MP3s to and from phones freely via USB and Bluetooth, this business of direct downloading to the iPhone is unimpressive. Maybe it's a big deal in the US, where I hear you typically can't just transfer an MP3 over USB and say 'use this as the ringtone'.

Correct me if I'm wrong here.... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882803)

But couldn't Apple have just prevented this whole mess if they had charged like $1500 for the iPhone, and offered a $750 mail-in rebate for purchasers who signed a 5-year contract with AT&T?

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong here.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883171)

But couldn't Apple have just prevented this whole mess if they had charged like $1500 for the iPhone, and offered a $750 mail-in rebate for purchasers who signed a 5-year contract with AT&T?
Yes, but it would make more sense for them to just sell it with a five year contract. The mail-in rebate thing wouldn't add anything other than to put people off buying them.

The important thing is that they can't prevent people using the phones on other networks. That isn't compatible with selling them with a five year contract that gives them access to a particular network, provided that they don't prevent people using the phones on other networks. Get it?

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong here.... (1)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883215)

Please mod parent up. This is so obvious.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong here.... (1)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20884063)

That would be the worst marketing decision ever, because customer's never see rebates as real money (and for a good reason). They see them as lottery tickets where after 6-8 weeks they might get back a small amount of money. Normally, they don't even send them in because they doubt they'll work, and in this case they wouldn't buy the product because they would see a $1500 phone with a tried and true bullshit $750 rebate that probably won't work. They'll also resent the extra step involved. Oh yeah, and what if you don't want to use AT&T? Then the whole problem is actually not avoided but thrown at the customer much like freshly dropped feces in the form of a $750 "unlock fee". So in the end everything is complicated, the iPhone would sell very few copies, there would be resentment in every review for the overhead cost (because people don't see rebates as real money, and they would see a $750 rebate as ridiculous), and finally people who didn't want to use AT&T would get hit hard and probably would just buy a new phone. In the end, this means nothing would be unlocked anyway, only a moron would pay $1500 to have an iPhone they could use with Verizon or T-Mobile or Sprint.

The mods must be smoking crack.. how is that possibly insightful.

Ahhh! (0)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882865)

More iPhone news? Does Britney Spears know about this? I guess not, if she did we would seeing it on CNN along with her little dogs too.

Look, Apple has their business model, their attorneys have assessed it, and Apple is going ahead with what they think they can make the biggest buck. Will they win in the end? IMHO they will. I can't see a business as savvy as Apple making some dumb marketing mistake that is going to cripple their iPhone line in any given country. They made their mistakes long ago with Apple III/Lisa and/or other lines and have done nothing but win consumers over since then. The iPhone is a tremendous jump over standard cell phones and will lead the way for the foreseeable future. Their staff attorneys are ready and willing to fight any argument that France or anyone else will throw at them. Personally, I'll wait until they have matured their market to the point I don't have to worry about bricking or contracts tied to a specific provider.

Re:Ahhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20882945)

Fanboy much?

Re:Ahhh! (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883211)

"Fanboy much?"

Sorry, no. The last Apple product I owned was an Apple II+ which definitely dates me. No iPod, no Mac, no iPhone. Like I said, I'll wait. I'm happy with Ubuntu for personal use and support MS platforms for work. Some day...when I have the disposable income, I'll get a Mac. I'll probably never buy an iPod and replacing my functional 5 year old cell phone won't happen until it dies.

Re:Ahhh! (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883017)

There is no fight.

Either your phone is unlockable and legal or it's not and illegal. Simple stuff.

Re:Ahhh! (2, Insightful)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883253)

They made their mistakes long ago with Apple III/Lisa and/or other lines and have done nothing but win consumers over since then.

...With the IIvx, and the Newton, and the clone licensing program, and the Performa line, and the PowerBook 5300, and... ;)

errors in summary (5, Informative)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 6 years ago | (#20882969)

This has nothing to do with AT&T.

Apple has already announced an exclusive deal in France with Orange (France telecom), and it's this deal that is in danger because of the law. Apple is partnered with T-mobile in Germany and O2 in Britain, so this really isn't about any worldwide exclusivity for AT&T.

AppleInsider's report on this situation. [appleinsider.com]

Re:errors in summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883091)

Hey BITCH, you MOCK Slashdot with your little "reality" and your silly "facts". Go home to MOMMA!

Re:errors in summary (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883165)

That's actually a very good idea for them. The big argument right now is that Apple can't release an unlocked phone in another market due to grey market import of unlocked phones. Soooo, release it locked by another carrier in a new market. In this way the two markets do not compete, and yet consumers in both markets can obtain and use the product.

This is probably Apple's original plan. A year from now we are very likely to see the iPhone for sale in 1/2 dozen markets, each locked to a single provider in that market.

The iPhone's edge (2, Interesting)

GeneralSunTzu (1163223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883169)

I do believe the iPhone's edge is exclusively the UI, which Apple masters like no other computer manufacturer.
Good ol'e Steve is convinced, however, that only a tied-up customer can be conveniently milked, and therefore will also bundle it with an exclusive operator contract.
European customers were already fed up with the local operators, who were milking them to death via international roaming, before being forced to lower the price by an EU regulation (think of the FCC ever doing something like that...) not to go for even more getting handcuffed...
Will I buy the iPhone when it comes to Belgium? Certainly not.
Will I miss something? Ditto.
What I am actually looking for right now is an open source cellphone with 4G technology, so that I may write my own stuff, not a locked tin can which will burn like a interocitor (This Island Earth, remember?)...
And if it burns when I open it, then I want a free saucer ride, not a mail-in rebate...

Why iPhone can't be exclusive (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883057)

Only months from now, the other companies competing on the cellphone market will release their brand new iPhone clones (Nokia, looking at you).

What is the iPhone? It's just a phone with nice easy interface on a large touchscreen. It's not terribly hard to copy, nor is it illegal.

If Apple decided not to sell in France and other countries because it can't have 100% exclusivity with one provider, the other companies will fill their niche just fine. The only loser is Apple themselves.

iClone (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883113)

So they will just get those cheap Chinese "clone phones" instead?

Law of unintended consequences? (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883135)

How exactly is that so? Isn't that the point of a law like that, to prevent forceful vendor lock-down of certain phones, much in the way we experience in the US? For all I care, Apple should burn in hell, though. I'd rather keep Microsoft around :(

$3 a month is a large share? (1, Informative)

gig (78408) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883197)

For $3 a month Apple does a lot of things for iPhone customers that AT&T or other carriers have to do themselves for other phones. For example, if your iPhone needs service you call AppleCare not 611.

The exclusivity is so the phone companies don't get to rape iPhone customers financially. Before you get to carry the iPhone you have to agree to flat-rate data and reasonable voice plans. Even though the iPhone is by far the most popular smart phone, it has the cheapest device plans. Treo users can choose carriers but they always pay much more.

But then again it's easier just to parrot what you read on the Internet instead of thinking about it for like 10 minutes.

Re:$3 a month is a large share? (2, Informative)

isaac (2852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883257)

Even though the iPhone is by far the most popular smart phone, it has the cheapest device plans. Treo users can choose carriers but they always pay much more.


You are dead wrong.

Sprint's unlimited Power Vision (3G) service is $15/mo for regular joes. We won't even mention the SERO plans that start at $30/mo for 500 minutes, unlimited data, unlimited SMS & MMS, unlimited mobile-to-mobile, and free nights/weekends starting at 7.

AT&Tingular charges $20/mo for unlimited data with 200 SMS/MMS messages.

Now, yes, T-Mobile and Verizon suck for users of any smartphones - but it's wrong to say Treo users always pay more.

Re:$3 a month is a large share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883293)

Er, what's "reasonable" to you may not be reasonable to others. What if I have absolutely no need for data transfers? What if I wanted a smartphone that's a PDA + phone, nothing more (No wifi, no web-browsing), and I just like the iPhone interface? What if I don't make that much voice calls either, with daily average of 2 to 3 minutes?

Now ... why would I want to pay a FLAT RATE fee for data, and sign up to any kind of plan at all, say, as opposed to a prepaid plan where I just pay for the (few) minutes I use? Because this is what's reasonable for me. Can I still use the iPhone for this (without jumping through hoops Apple and AT&T designed for their customers)?

BTW, note that I can do all of the above with any other smart phone that isn't locked to a particular carrier, and I will have a pretty good PDA with phone capability with barely $5 per month or so (after initial purchase of the device, of course).

What I'd like to know is..... (3, Insightful)

zuki (845560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883219)

...what are the terms of the deal that made Apple so giddy about 'locking in' with AT&T for FIVE YEARS!!!

The argument is that Apple obviously has legal counsel who foresaw all of these problems (risk of class action, being made illegal in certain countries, etc...)
Yet they do not have any problem doing this for what (in hardware evolution time) is several lives long, and they are basically risking everything on this gamble.

What could it be that made the pot so sweet that they went with this deal on a debut product?

And on the opposite side of the coin, what could have been so incredibly bad about offering the phone unlocked with a SIM card slot
that they, -who pride themselves in public for being so 'open'- did not see that as a viable option?

Do they act so arrogant that they don't even want to please all of the international travelers who swap SIM cards
every time they arrive in a new country? Someone, please drop some science on us. As it is, it makes no logical sense.

(Oh yeah, and BTW Steve, if you happen to read this, just email me the 411 directly...! KTHXBYE)

Z.

You'd think (2, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883283)

With all the corporate-induced environmental disasters, wars, etc. in the world, that people would find something more important to get excited about than the terms and conditions for a cell phone.

Who Needs an iPhone Clone (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883353)

when LG are just about to release their new VX10000 [youtube.com] mobile phone that leaves the Apples offerings for dead. People forget the iPhone does not support 3G and most users in Europe and Asia now want 3G. If you have 3G then you want a proper QWERTY keyboard and the VX10000 has one of those too and you can change your battery and add more storage with a MicroSD card all features missing on the iPhone.

Re:Who Needs an iPhone Clone (1)

jas79 (196511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20884027)

I think the VX1000 would be a lot better if you could use the touch screen and the keyboard at the same time. Why would anyone want to write text messages with a touchscreen when you have a keyboard.

What? (3, Funny)

sebastianboethius (457437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883407)

If i were to meet steve jobs right now i would slap him.

I hate them (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883607)

I hate French; not the first time they make us look so stupid.

Not as dead end as you think (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883613)

All Apple has to do is make it so iPhones sold outside the US cannot be updated or synched with iTunes in the US. iTunes knows from your IP what country you are in.

Sure, there are proxys, but this would shut out 99% of the problem. People couldn't just buy an iPhone in Europe and use it here theyd have to know what they were doing.

France very late in wireless number portability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20883621)

France was the second last country in Europe to introduce wireless number portability.

The French government was protecting their incumbent carrier --- don't ever think that they were protecting French consumers.

Where the hell did 5 years come from? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20883715)

Apple themselves have stated its a 5 year contract, 2 year EXCLUSIVE deal, meaning they will be working with AT&T for 5 years, but only 2 of them will AT&T be the exclusive dealer.

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