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Court Order Against German T-Mobile iPhone Sales

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the when-dinosaurs-battle dept.

Cellphones 195

An anonymous reader writes "In a strange move, Vodafone applied for and was granted a restraining order against T-Mobile to prohibit the sale of iPhone in Germany. A regional court in Hamburg has issued a restraining order. According to CNNMoney.com: 'Specifically, Vodafone is questioning the iPhone's exclusive use in T-Mobile's network and the use of the device being limited to certain fees within T-Mobile's subscription offerings.' Vodaphone says they are not trying to halt iPhone sales completely; they seem to want a court to examine the questions of exclusivity and licensing."

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Sigh (2, Interesting)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416239)

From the article

Specifically, Vodafone is questioning the iPhone's exclusive use in T-Mobile's network and the use of the device being limited to certain fees within T- Mobile's subscription offerings.
That doesn't make sense (to me) - it's none of Vodaphone's business. The above would have made sense if they threw the words "consumer" and "choice". But, oh, that would be too much to ask. Who gives a heck about the consumer?

Vodafone isn't generally opposed to T-Mobile's exclusivity contract with Apple, but wants to have these new sales practices examined, the spokesman said. The restraining order doesn't aim at a total sales stop, he added. Yawn. Sue Apple for calling the shots here - not Tmobile and it's bloody fucking ironic how Apple decided only ATT would be its bitch in the US and went for Tmobile on the other side of the ocean.

Re:Sigh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416277)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I
had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-American
football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths.
I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he
washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and
married - and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with
him.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated,
hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still
warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the
shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left
behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It
apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat,
stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd
- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and
wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd
always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little
clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass
and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerk-off fantasies of
devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done
it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound
turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy
and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's
handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both
hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled
like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the
consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit
without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it
smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into
my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock,
beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and
bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet
flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had
chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed
I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I
soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd
passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily,
sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My
only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down
with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the
cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more
delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with
the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But
then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There
was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished
them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my
briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the
shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever
unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an
unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using
them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my
mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit
trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six
orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out
of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could,
and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Re:Sigh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416523)

OMG PONIES!!!!111!!@3424

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  /   O O\   Feed the trolls xx
/         \   I like Ponies  xx
/ _    \   \  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  |\____\   \        XX
  | | | |\__/        XX
   \|_|_|/ |        _XX
           | i_ _ _i XXo
            \ -----i_XXo
             \
Please control the human population, have sex with ponies!

in other words, "can we do this too?" (4, Interesting)

r00t (33219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416473)

"wants to have these new sales practices examined"

Right. The evils of cell phone service in the USA are coming to Germany. Vodaphone just wants the court to verify that this is legit, so that they too can be evil.

Re:in other words, "can we do this too?" (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417365)

They are already evil enough.

For example, they charge you for every kilobit starting from the first on the unlimited flat rate 3G/3GB Cellular broadband contract. So much for "flat rate unlimited". They void your phone insurance for every single fake reason you can think of.

So what they like to know if they can be even more evil and directly tell the customer to bend over (without the "or else") the way Apple does it. They would love to.

Anyway, overall, this is good for the consumer. If the court confirms that the customer has to bend over EU will tighten the regs on mobile operators in a jiffie. If the court confirms that the customer has rights, T-mob and Apple will have to bend over in a jiffie. Vodafone will promptly follow. They are simply not realising it because they are being blinded by their greed.

Re:in other words, "can we do this too?" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21418067)

Waaaah Waaaah! I want my IPhone and I want it my way or you're EVIL.
boohoohoo, cut the hyperbole already.

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416627)

The above would have made sense if they threw the words "consumer" and "choice". But, oh, that would be too much to ask. Who gives a heck about the consumer?


You're criticizing the word choice of the (ridiculously brief) article, not the lawsuit or the laws the suit is based on.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417051)

Actually it is their business. Its called being anti competitive which is very illegal in Europe.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417505)

Its called being anti competitive which is very illegal in Europe.
What a backward place! Here in the U$A, we have our priorities straight and we know that we all work for the corporations. There's none of this sissy "consumer rights" stuff.

See pre-paid phones for precedent (2, Insightful)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417467)

I think that is what Vodafone wants, namely that the iPhone be treated like a pre-paid phone, where a nominal fee removes the SIM lock. In other words, they don't care if people buy the phone from T-Mobile or even if they are locked into a T-Mobile contract, as long as they can slip a Vodafone SIM into the phone.

If Vodafone wins and gets a solution similar to France, then I could see them advertising themselves as the better provider, or sending a mail on their current customers that they can now take their contacts and other info with them. Let the T-Mobile shops sell the phone, they probably think, as long as the customers stay in our net.

Although the iPhone does not meet my needs, I wish them luck. I understand and accept the subsidising of a phone purchase by the telecoms, but I also feel the customer should have the right to use his device with whatever network he desires. The same goes for my desire to see certain parts like the battery user-replaceable in the future, as a proposed EU directive demands.

Re:Sigh (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417873)

Sue Apple for calling the shots here

No. Doesn't make any sense.

If Apple wanted to just sell the phone, they could sell it without a contract through their usual retail channels. (A number of the iPhone's features depend on the network supporting them, so it wouldn't have been such an easy sell, but that's Apple's problem). But instead they approached a number of telcos across the world and asked them to sell the phone with a contract attached to it. Every telco had the option of reading the contract and replying to the effect that what Apple wanted to do in a particular market was illegal, and thus they could not sign the contract.

But mobile telephone companies tend to be large organisations that consider themselves if not completely above the law, certainly in a position where it's fairly negotiable.

Re:Sigh (3, Informative)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417917)

it's bloody fucking ironic how Apple decided only ATT would be its bitch in the US and went for Tmobile on the other side of the ocean.

Who else? AT&T doesn't exist over here and T-Mobile owns the D1 network, which has the most subscribers. Competitors like Vodafone, O2 or E-Plus are big, but not quite as big as T-Mobile, which had a huge advantage as it evolved out of the earlier federal post's telephone service.

T-Mobile really was the obvious choice.

People like to complain. (3, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416243)

I can't help but think that there would be about the same number of people bitching about this, regardless of if the contracted partner with Apple was AT&T, Cingular, T-mobile, Sprint, EIEIO, ROFL, or any other provider. For any product, it comes with (list) of (limitations), take it or leave it. All I can say, is that my $AT&T contract is $20 less per month than my Verizon contract for my Palm 600, so the iPhone pays for itself. If people want to be pissed off by this, (shrug) OK, go ahead, but, workflow and usability matter for something for me. Saving 20 bucks a month matters too. Between both, the iPhone makes sense for me regardless of who I have to contract with. People who complain about this, I'm guessing, just like to bitch about things without any particular reason for same other than having something to complain about. Eventually you grow out of that whole "indignation based on look dammit" thing and get on with life. Get on with life. Or not. Your choice. But fact remains, the device is well thought out, the workflow works, and only people who choose to not like it will not like it. It is waht it is, and what is is, is pretty damn well thought out. Get over it.

Re:People like to complain. (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416555)

Apple was AT&T, Cingular, T-mobile, Sprint, EIEIO, ROFL, or any other provider.

      Damn, I tried signing up with EIEIO for a couple months. My calls would constantly be interrupted by weird animal noises, especially ducks. And I could only get a signal in two places - on my farm and, strangely, at any McDonald's restaurant. Obviously I told them they could shove it.

Re:People like to complain. (2, Funny)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416989)

I had them for a while too. Mine kept singing old Nellie songs and sportin' band-aids on one side of the case. And the worst part was that it only worked in East St. Louis.

Re:People like to complain. (5, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416565)

I don't know what laws are like in your jurisdiction, but many European countries, and indeed the EU itself has very strict laws with regards to what restrictions you may and may not place on consumers. If a company follows these rules and a competitor is allowed to violate them without the authorities taking action, then I could very much understand that they feel pissed. It is not as much a matter about weather these laws are sensible or not, as it is a matter of them being equal for everyone. Basically, if the law requires Vodaphone to comply with A, B and C then they have all right to be pissed if their competitors can ignore A, B or C without consequences. That the consumers may or may not benefit from Vodaphone's legal action is just a side effect, and it can be debated if it is good or bad.

Re:People like to complain. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416833)

much a matter about weather these laws are sensible or not
it's whether. now mod me down

Re:People like to complain. (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416915)

Heh! If I had mod points I would give you +1 informative. I guess the spellchecker isn't quite self-aware yet, and English is not my first language. ; )

Re:People like to complain. (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417825)

Your English is better than 90% of slashdotters (and of course 100% of the editors). If it's not your first language that's impressive.

Re:People like to complain. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416609)

The US case for iPhone is different. I hear that the German plan is more expensive than most competing plans.

Re:People like to complain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416817)

I can't help but think that there would be about the same number of people bitching about this
People who complain about this, I'm guessing, just like to bitch about things without any particular reason for same other than having something to complain about.

But yet you feel inclined to bitch about the people bitching? Doesn't that make you part of same group of people you are referring too? Funny indeed.

and only people who choose to not like it will not like it.
Really?

Re:People like to complain. (4, Funny)

PineGreen (446635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416975)

...so the iPhone pays for itself.

Dude, get 10 of them and leave job!

Re:People like to complain. (3, Insightful)

slaingod (1076625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417105)

The issue is not about the device. The issue is about the restictive service. I would go out and buy an iPhone tomorrow if Verizon carried it, as Verizon is the ONLY carrier in NYC that I get reception from in my apartment. All coverage/service is not created equal, and in my case there is literally only one provider I can use. Don't get me wrong, Verizon is a pos as well as far as their phone selection. I'm using an XV6700 that's 2 years old, and that is still the most recent model they carry in a full sized PDA phone. God forbid the HTC Touch or XV6800 be available. And of course you can't just go out and buy a compatible phone and bring it into the network.

Re:People like to complain. (1, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418007)

have you ever tried just dropping your sim into an unlocked phone?

Re:People like to complain. (2, Insightful)

Chuqmystr (126045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417367)

I've got a few things I'd like to bitch about which I like to think are credible. Now mind you, I'm quite the Apple Whore and I HATE Verizon Wireless unto whom I'm tethered but will begrudgingly extol some benefits of.

iPhone is neat but for the TRUE mobile warrior/wackadoo like me it's cute and flashy but fairly useless. I've clocked far too many hours on trains, buses and other inconvenient places for connectivity tethered to some form of cellular data. Tmobile, VZW, Cingular-ATT-HUGE-monopilistic-turd. So far, VZW and ATT have the faster and more useable networks, at least here in the Southwestern parts of the US. VZW slightly wins out in price.

VZW does allow me to tether a laptop for my needs, pretty much unfettered. The few crappy smartphones they offer allow me to run mostly whatever apps I want, again, mostly unfettered. Let me qualify "unfettered". As long as I don't get stupid - big bit torrents, constant hosting, lots of streaming - that sort of stuff, they leave me alone. On my handsets I can sync to what I want, ssh into stuff, get any kind of email, many useful things a mobile sysadmin needs. It ain't sexy and is kludgy (and the windoze phones always suck) but it can always be made to work reliably (your fiddling milage may very from handset to handset) without fear of a pushed firmware upgrade creaming my work environment. No one with said needs can honestly claim that sort of thing from the iPhone. Laptop tethering isn't even an option. I'd buy one as-is if it were.

I do like the iPhone (except for that damned virtual KYB) but for my needs, and surprisingly I've found many more like me than I ever expected to, it simply doesn't fit my needs. The constant hackery a la PSP won't cut it when I need to reliably be able to simply shell into the mothership and slap down some alert or what have you. Ssh on a cellphone is both a painful and useful thing and the complete denial of a tether to a more suited computer is just deplorable.

I understand what Apple is trying to sell but man, they needed to release it with the SDK from the get-go and allow for a tethering option, even if it were at $ATT's gawd-awful prices. They should have done 3G too. IMHO, they should have let loose the iPod touch first and then the phone. But whatever, I'm not switching bloodsucking carriers for at least another two years. I got my crackberry 8830 which is an okay replacement for the Palm 700p, the palm that could have been but never was. *Shrugs* Well At least it's not a Windoze phone...

--Only SIX puppies were harmed in this posting. Not SEVEN! SIX PUPPIES! Don't you get it man? Why would anyone want to do SEVEN puppies when they can get it done with SIX?!?

Re:People like to complain. (2, Insightful)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418243)

You miss the point. Apple knows that they only have to cater to a particular segment of the market with the initial phone offering. It doesn't have to hit all of the spots for all users, just enough of them. Its had wow reviews everywhere in the mainstream press and does what it does very well. It does enough for most people in most of the target markets. That's enough for a version 1.0 device.

WRT to releasing an SDK. Apple didn't need the SDK to be available from the off. They can sell all of the phones they make without one. In order to support the long term viability of the iPhone an SDK will help, most people will probably just use what ships with the phone though.

Leaving off 3G and only having a paltry 8GB of storage gives a nice update path for Apple. They can double the storage, add 3G, and bring in iPhone 2 at the original high end price point. This will help sustain the iPhone buzz in 6-12 months time.

Interesting business in Germany? (2, Insightful)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416299)

So if I get this straight, in Germany if Company A offers me $X dollars for my product, and Company B offers me $X+5, and I decide to do business only with Company B because I don't like Company A's deal, Company A can then sue me for anti-competitive practices? Sounds like I don't want to do business there...

Reid

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416381)

Or maybe other countries are in favor of giving consumer choices? Or is that anti-capitalist?

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417661)

Or maybe other countries are in favor of giving consumer choices? Or is that anti-capitalist?
If that was the purpose it would have been a consumer org starting the court action, not a rival telco.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

rozz (766975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418125)

Or maybe other countries are in favor of giving consumer choices? Or is that anti-capitalist?
If that was the purpose it would have been a consumer org starting the court action, not a rival telco.
or maybe, in germany the market itself works in the consumer's interest like it was supposed to ... and they dont even need consumer orgs because they have real competition ... i tell you, it is the horror !

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418181)

or maybe, in germany the market itself works in the consumer's interest like it was supposed to ... and they dont even need consumer orgs because they have real competition ... i tell you, it is the horror !
Nah, the US would have invaded again if something like that was happening. Can't have rogue nations right in the middle of Europe.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416501)

But without *some* anti-trust enforcement, the consumers who would lose their freedom. Eventually there would just be one big company. Power leads to profits leads to more power.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417075)

Antitrust laws exist in pretty much every industrialized country in one form or another.

Question is, what is the threshold? Do you cut down the huge tree, or cut down the sapling yearning to grow? German courts in this case appear willing to cut down each sapling. 1% marketshare isn't even CLOSE to a monopoly!!

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416503)

Maybe the very fact that EU states would be willing to challenge such exclusivity agreements explains why their legal system in general seems better at protecting consumers rather than raping them, as seems to be the norm in the US. Since when has the US ever been as effective [people.com.cn] as the EU in protecting consumers?

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (5, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416603)

Sounds like I don't want to do business there


Let me get this straight, if I want to sell a product, I have to follow the law? You're right, that's horrible, no wonder Germany is such a third-world country known for hating modern technology.

Next thing you know, some litigious bastard will suggest that AT&T should have to let us choose which phones to use on our landlines! You knew the deal when you signed up for service, it's only whiners who want to stop competition who suggest that renting your princess phone is too expensive.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417149)

Let me get this straight, if I want to sell a product, I have to follow the law? You're right, that's horrible, no wonder Germany is such a third-world country known for hating modern technology.

Yeah, I hear IBM followed German law pretty much to the letter since running operations there. I don't remember it slowing them down any.

(I know, I know, Godwin ... but when you reduce someone's complaint about the kafkaesqueness of law to a criticism of all law, in a discussion about Germany, I think I'm justified in saying that.)

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (2)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417911)

You knew the deal when you signed up for service, it's only whiners who want to stop competition who suggest that renting your princess phone is too expensive.
Exactly. So don't rent one. Problem solved. It's not like you have some natural right to possess an iPhone. Apple (and whoever else is involved in this) does not owe you anything. Just like you don't owe them anything. Now if you want to enter a business transaction with them, by all means contact them, negotiate, buy passively, whatever. Why on Earth you should scream bloody murder and invoke some law is beyond me.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416861)

So if I get this straight

Unless you've studied the German/EU competition law in question as well as the pleadings I can guarantee that you haven't.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417015)

So if I get this straight, in Germany if Company A offers me $X dollars for my product, and Company B offers me $X+5, and I decide to do business only with Company B because I don't like Company A's deal, Company A can then sue me for anti-competitive practices? Sounds like I don't want to do business there...
No, they're saying that they want to know whether Apple can say they don't want to trade with all comers who want to pay $X+5. What a smart competitor would usually do is buy the phones at $X+5 (more precisely, X+5) and then sell it with another price plan than T-Mobile. Maybe even (shock!) sell it without a price plan, like in France. They want to know whether it is legal to discriminate in that manner.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417539)

So if I get this straight, in Germany if Company A offers me $X dollars for my product, and Company B offers me $X+5, and I decide to do business only with Company B because I don't like Company A's deal, Company A can then sue me for anti-competitive practices? Sounds like I don't want to do business there...
Actually it's more like if Company A offers $X for your product and Company B offers $X-5 but tell you they'll do everything in their hands to destroy your business if you ever make a deal with Company A.

Then, Company A sues Company B for anticompetitive practices.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

Beriaru (954082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417763)

Why not both?

The scene here is you as a company with a product that cost X, and other company ofers you X+5 for an EXCLUSIVE deal.

So, the other companies sue you because you and your exclusive contract are limiting the consumer choices.

That is not how business works (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417779)

First off, in normal business you SELL your product for a price, it ain't a bloody auction. The entire idea is that the process has to be fair. If you want to sell something in europe you have to play by the rules. If Apple can't play by the rules, they are welcome to take their stuff home and shove it up the US consumers ass who are used to assuming the position.

You might be suprised to know this, but in europe all these exclusive deals and crippled phones are NOT legal and don't happen. When you got to buy a phone you can easily do that from a third party shop that simply displays the phones with a list of providers next to it.

The EU unlike the US puts the customer first and if you don't want to do business that way, then don't. Nobody put a gun to Apples head and forced them to start selling here. Oh but wait, I see you are busy, Steve Jobs has woken up and has a woody, bent over and prepare to squeel little piggy.

Re:That is not how business works (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21418215)

It's funny how few seems to have actually dealt with any of these telecos in Europe. Other than buying handsets and services from them that is. Take Vodafone for instance, they are outright bastards (as Roy from The IT Crowd would say) all the way through. Vodafone is simply pissed because they couldn't control Apple like the control every other handset manufacturer there is that actually sells in volumes. Pure and simple. They just don't want to show it too much.

Re:That is not how business works (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418241)

You might be suprised to know this, but in europe all these exclusive deals and crippled phones are NOT legal and don't happen. When you got to buy a phone you can easily do that from a third party shop that simply displays the phones with a list of providers next to it.

The only way you generally can buy a locked phone, in the EU, is through the provider concerned. You can even buy such phones at third party shops, but they typically come clearly labled with the service provider's logo.
The service provider will have paid full price to the manufacturer (it might even be a bit more that an unlocked phone due to firmware changes and/or branding). The price they choose to sell them to customers and retailers is entirely up to them.

Re:That is not how business works (2, Informative)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418301)

"You might be suprised to know this, but in europe all these exclusive deals and crippled phones are NOT legal and don't happen."

As a European, I'm surprised by your assertion that it's illegal, because several operators in a variety of European countries offer crippled phones under exclusive deals, so it does in fact happen. This is because there is no EC directive that makes such tying illegal unless there is a monopoly involved (an EC-wide monopoly, not a monopoly in one or two countries).

Clue stick: there are many laws in various European countries that are specific to those countries. In this case, it is a matter of German law, hence the fact that a German district court was used rather than the European courts. Given the fact that both operators are competitors in several European countries besides Germany, it's highly likely that the European courts would have been used as a "one stop" solution if, as you claim, such activities were actually illegal in Europe itself.

The only actual Europe-wide law that would be of any consequence to exclusive deals between an operator and a phone maker are the ones governing open trade borders. Under these, consumers in a European country where exclusive deals and locked-down products are allowed can freely buy from other European countries where such practices are prohibited (e.g. Belgium or France), and any warranties must be honoured in the country where the consumer lives (unless of course the manufacturer has no authorised service centres in that country). In the case of the iPhone, this means that while Apple can freely enter into tying agreements in countries that permit them, they can't take any action that prevents residents of those countries from buying unlocked versions from EC member states which prohibit it, although they can of course simply refuse to sell iPhones in any country that doesn't allow such exclusive deals.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

Slashidiot (1179447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417985)

Nope, it's not exactly like that. The thing is that you should be able to buy the product from company B and then use it with the network of company A.

This concept is very clear right now in most of the things in EU policy. It's the same for most products, there should be a separation between manufacturer of a product and the service provider. Or at least have the option to choose service provider, no matter who you purchased the hardware from.

Another example, maybe a bit far fetched, but one I know well. In Europe, transport by train has two distict parts. One is the company who builds the tracks, and other is the company who runs the trains. And they cannot be the same company, and the company who builds the tracks must be open to ANY company running trains in their tracks, if they pay the stipulated track access charges.

The EU is pushing this idea in most areas of the economy. And I think it works.

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

Lained (1078581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418109)

Not really... If they are sued for anti-competitive practices that means there are reasons to back that claim. Phones being exclusive to a carrier isn't nothing new. What's new is that I don't have the choice to pay a fee to unlock my phone (before or after the contract expires) and move to another operator. Even if I want to end the contract before its end date, pay the remaining monthly fees, I can't use _my_ phone in another carrier. No matter how much garbage Apple sticks in their EULA (or whatever is they have), it doesn't mean jack if it goes against the law in here (and in france it even goes against the law if they don't have an unlock version in the market), so yeah, it is _my_ phone and I'm free to do whatever I want. The only thing I cannot do is end the contract with the carrier (for the service plan, not the iPhone) thinking I won't have to pay the remaining time (I was the one who ended the contract).... that is, except if Vodafone wins the claim, and by that rendering the contract useless. If that starts to be the norm pretty much goes against everything that was legislated and that the regulator entities try to have. First iPhone, then Nokia, Motorola, Siemens and soon I'll have to buy a new phone every time I change carrier. Those fees are there for a reason, so I can change carriers (pretty much the same logic behind phone number portability: I want to change operator, then I can either pay the fee and move the number with me, or change number). Also for a new mobile carrier (or a virtual one operating on top of a existing one) they would have enormous difficulties getting terminals for their business (ence the competitive laws... they are not only to protect the customers, but also to encourage new, competitive, companies into the market, althou in the end it does give more options to the customer with in this last cenario).

Re:Interesting business in Germany? (1)

rozz (766975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418153)

So if I get this straight, in Germany if Company A offers me $X dollars for my product, and Company B offers me $X+5, and I decide to do business only with Company B because I don't like Company A's deal, Company A can then sue me for anti-competitive practices? Sounds like I don't want to do business there...

Reid
just got off the phone with the german embassy ... they dont NEED u there either.

they dont WANT u there, too ... and it is not because they are not nice and welcoming ppl ... actually they would very much like to have you, but they already have enough market-is-god lunatics to educate and just cant take more for this year ... please try next year.

Whats Wrong? (3)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416365)

My question here is what is wrong with the exclusivity of the iPhone? I don't know German/EU monopoly laws, but I don't think TMobile has enough market share to qualify as a monopoly anywhere. If not, I don't see what is really wrong here, I mean does Apple computer hardware in Germany have to be able to compatible with Windows? It looks like Vodafone wants a piece of the iPhone pie, and are using every legal action to limit the impact TMobile gets from it.

Re:Whats Wrong? (5, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416511)

T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom were the PTT in Germany for years. Only recently has the EU cracked down on the mind-boggling roaming and int'l pricing-- hitting T-Mobile especially hard. No one's accusing anyone of anything right now, but getting a hearing when it looks like there might be some problems is perhaps healthier than going into post-agreement activation litigation.

T-Mobile has stupefying marketshare in Germany. Not total, but stupefying. And it's not just in mobiles (called a 'handy' in Germany) but in WiFi, hotel systems, hotspots, xDSL, and pay-by-packet schemes.

Re:Whats Wrong? (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416551)

I wish they were this way in America. There needs to be another DSL player in the US market...

Re:Whats Wrong? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416635)

There needs to be another DSL player in the US market...

There are plenty of DSL players in the US, it's just that the US market is set up such that you often only get one because the incumbent player isn't required to lease out the lines, despite being allowed to use public land to run those lines, and being given the monopoly for running those lines.

Re:Whats Wrong? (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416745)

indeedy.. a local monopoly is still a monopoly.

Re:Whats Wrong? (2, Informative)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417629)

They do have a large marketshare in landline (about 80% I'd guess), but in mobile, they're just one of many competing players. Vodaphone, O2 and others have equal access to the market T-mobile has maybe a 40% market share at most. The telco market is actually working quite well. Rates for everything - international calling, local calls, internet access, mobile have dropped 90% or more since the 90ies.

It's quite different in the energy market (electricity and natural gas) where we just have a bunch of mini-Enrons.

Re:Whats Wrong? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418065)

True. The German moble telco market is fiercely competitive, with companies constantly one-upping each other. The current trend is going towards making rates as simple as possible while retaining competitive pricing. An example would be E-Plus' "Zehnsation" ("Tensation") where you pay 10 cents per minute for calls in every network at any time and have a minimum charge of ten Euros. Another would be the E-Plus spinoff brand Simyo, which is offering a prepaid/contract hybrid without minimum charges or monthly fees where you either pay 9.9 ct/min* to all networks at any time or 15 ct/min to all mobile networks and nothing talking to landlines and other Simyo customers.

Of course those kinds of contract charge a lot for unusual usage (Simyo wants 39 cents per MMS and up to 2.49 EUR/min for calls to foreign countries), but if you only use your mobile for calls to other mobiles they are quite pleasant.


Disclaimer: I don't work for E-Plus, but E-Plus is currently shoving "Zehnsation" ads down everyone's throats and I switched to Simyo a couple months ago because it fits my mobile phone habits best. Other provider have similar offerings, including particular ones like vybemobile, which include ten music downloads per month.

Drek, I just noticed that vybemobile is YET ANOTHER E-Plus offering (with the music provided by Universal). Apparently E-Plus is making its pricing structure simpler by creating a spinoff brand for every new rate they offer...


* That price is for a rate they're phasing in next year; the current rate is pretty much equivalent to the other one I mentioned.

Re:Whats Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417031)

I don't think TMobile has enough market share to qualify as a monopoly anywhere.

Come again?!

Re:Whats Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417479)

Well for a start they claim it is a GSM phone, then they don't comply with one of the basic GSM standards which is the ability to change providers by the user easily changing the SIM.

Not a monopoly? (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417829)

You might say the same for KPN or O2, never heard of them? They are the former goverment monopolies in the netherlands and great britain respectivly. (KPN uses both its normal name and Hi as a mobilephone brand, O2 was the mobile phone brand of BT till it split off) Now I give you one guess as to the name of the german mobile phone company that was the former goverment monopoly.

Feeling a bit stupid now? You should. Next time you start claiming you know anything about a company, try to find out where it came from.

What next, you claim the BBC is a tiny unimportant station because it is somewhere on station 199 in the US of A? McDonalds is just a tiny chain because they got only one shop in russia? (might be more now offcourse)

Geez, oh and it is not about being a monopoly, it is about unfair trade practices. It is a EU thing. A US citizen wouldn't be able to understand. Basically the Apple/AT&T deal is not legal in the EU or for that matter most of the world. Different cultures I guess. You like being buggered up the ass by giant companies, we prefer the state to do it, at least we can vote them out if they don't use enough lube.

good! (3, Insightful)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416413)

It's about time someone challenged this tie-in with phones and carriers.

I should be able to buy a cell phone and use it with any carrier I choose, technical limitations notwithstanding.

Re:good! (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416485)

Agreed. This should be reason enough for the lawsuit to succeed. Hopefully the telecommunications infrastructure in Germany isn't as monopolized as it is in the US.

Re:good! (1)

zazzel (98233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417821)

The iPhone is the first GSM phone brought to the German market which is a) bound to a single network provider and b) available only with a contract. Vodafone itself sometimes has special phones for sale with *their* contracts, but they were just derived models (SonyEricsson V800), or given a head start. I don't know which category the Samsung "QBowl" (F700V) falls into, but I assume it works on any German network (no netlock, no simlock). Maybe except for the visual voicemail feature, but I guess you can't hang them for adding features to their network.

Re:good! (3, Insightful)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416533)

I should be able to buy a cell phone and use it with any carrier I choose, technical limitations notwithstanding.

That was the original point of the GSM standard. You were supposed to be able to buy a single phone and take it anywhere in the world that supported GSM. Sure, you may or may not have to pop in another SIM card if your provider didn't have roaming in the place where you were at. The whole locking the phones thing breaks that compatibility, as do the different band allocations around the place now.

If you want to unlock your (common) mobile phone Google can help. The Nokias can be unlocked by entering some code on the keypad that's derived from the IEMI number in the phone. There are several sites that will take an IEMI and give you the code. The same thing exists for all other major brands.

As for iPhone being locked to T-mobile. It sucks because I want one (not that I can get one here) but I don't want to be forced to use a particular carrier (of Apple's choice) just to use what is essentially a standard mobile phone with a few nice extra features.

Re:good! (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416805)

As for iPhone being locked to T-mobile. It sucks because I want one (not that I can get one here) but I don't want to be forced to use a particular carrier (of Apple's choice) just to use what is essentially a standard mobile phone with a few nice extra features.


Well, you can either not buy an iPhone, or unlock it yourself. Now, granted iPhone software 1.1.2 hasn't been unlocked yet, but it eventually will. Remember Apple quoting that around a quarter-million iPhones are unlocked?

In fact, even though the iPhone is technically tied to a contract, you buy it without signing any contract. In effect, it's a contract-bound phone where you don't sign any contract to purchase it.

Example - my iPhone works in Canada. I was in the US. I walked into an AT&T store. I said "I want an iPhone". I hand over my (Canadian) credit card, and they bill $399 to it (no sales tax in OR). No muss, no fuss, they wanted my cellphone number, and asked if I was with AT&T, to which I said no. Not even an address.

So I handed over $399, and a phone number. And I have my iPhone. No promise to sign up on an AT&T contract. No SSN. Nothing.

Come home, follow the instructions to activate and unlock the phone, and boom, it works with my Canadian SIM card. No contract, either. No visual voicemail, but no biggie. I don't even have voicemail on my account.

It's interesting, buying a locked, contract bound phone, without actually agreeing to do that. I saw nothing on any screen that said I had to keep my phone activated with AT&T for 2 years, nor clicked any such agreements.

Re:good! (3, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417055)

Acually 1.1.2 was unlocked within two or three days of making a public showing on the upgrade servers. It's only phones with the new baseband bootloader, i.e. those that come shipped with 1.1.2 out of the box, that can't yet be unlocked.

Re:good! (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417327)

Is it true? How come my friend's never worked? He moved to vancouver and before he left US he bought an iPhone like you said from Apple Store in CT (damn, the taxes are killing there) and just tried installing a Telus SIM card and it refused to work....

Re:good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417769)

Is it true? How come my friend's never worked?

Maybe he's unemployable.

Re:good! (3, Informative)

comm2k (961394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417387)

Thats not how it works in Germany - many people would be happy if it was that way. In Germany you can only buy it in T-Mobile shops. You can only buy the phone if you sign up for a 2 year contract in that shop - only after signing the agreement do you get the iPhone. You can't buy it from an Apple Store like in the USA.

Re:good! (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417493)

really. what store and where.

because i don't believe you.

"No SSN. Nothing."

yeah right you really have to give out your SSN for a phone.. what hero's they are.

"Well, you can either not buy an iPhone, or unlock it yourself."

you have that first part the wrong way, apple won't be allowed to sell them, they don't get the choice if they don't meet with the law in that country. their loss no one elses. the 2nd part is just you hoping you can unlock it and hoping they won't try void your warranty down the track.

Re:good! (2, Informative)

tokul (682258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418147)

In fact, even though the iPhone is technically tied to a contract, you buy it without signing any contract. In effect, it's a contract-bound phone where you don't sign any contract to purchase it.

How good is a phone if you can't make a phone call.

If you have to apply some third party hack in order to unlock the phone, you lose all warranties and can end up with 400 USD brick, if you accidentally upgrade to unsupported firmware.

Re:good! (2, Interesting)

AVee (557523) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418389)

Well, you can either not buy an iPhone, or unlock it yourself.
Or, at least for people living in actual an democracy and/or a country that gives a shit about an actually free market, you could have a law which makes these kinds of coupled selling illegal. That's not to be whining about stuff like that, it is a necessity to maintain a proper competing free market. When companies are allowed to make deals where you can have A but only if you also by B from him they create artificial monopolies and raise the barrier of entry for other players on the market. When this goes unchallenged it will create a market where you have to roll out a whole mobile network before you can release a smartphone, simply because the others won't let you join there club. That may seem pretty 'normal' when the USA is your reference, but it is not what a free market should be.

Re:good! (2, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416629)

I should be able to buy a cell phone and use it with any carrier I choose, technical limitations notwithstanding.

You're perfectly free to buy that kind of phone, and the iPhone isn't one of them. If you don't like it, don't buy an iPhone.

I should be able to buy a cell phone for $50. And actually, I can - just the iPhone isn't one of them.

It doesn't seem right that in a market with a lot of choices for cell phones, the government should dictate a niche player's business model.

Re:good! (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416735)


Read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tying_(commerce) [wikipedia.org]

The practice of bundling two products or services together like this and forcing the consumer into 'take none or both' decisions has a dubious history at best, and while its often legal, its often not. Most people agree the laws preventing tying are justifiable, and for the good of the market, even if it is impossible to define precisely exactly where the line should be drawn between legal bundling, and illegal tying.

Re:good! (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417041)

"business model" is too much of a broad term to describe it. Tying,bundling or lockin is what it is, which is illegal in germany.

If Steve Jobs sold plastic turds coated in lead paint i swear you people would still buy it for your kids to chew on, i swear.

Re:good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417151)

If Steve Jobs sold plastic turds coated in lead paint i swear you people would still buy it for your kids to chew on, i swear.

So would you, apparently, but only if the government ordered you to. Goddamn sheep.

Re:good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21418151)

President: Jump.
Citizens: How high?
President: To Iraq.
Citizens: Dunno where it is, but if you get us inside one of our US Army airplane we'll go.

meeeeeeh

(oh, and don't say some EU countries went as well... some of us did, but unlike you, we made the politicians who choose it pay... they weren't reelected like your president was... talk about sheeps.... meeeeeeeeeeh).

Re:good! (1)

wolverine1999 (126497) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417223)

I think it can.. and should.. especially where these kind of restrictions are being forced on consumers!

Re:good! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416723)

It's about time someone challenged this tie-in with phones and carriers.

I should be able to buy a cell phone and use it with any carrier I choose, technical limitations notwithstanding. .........

I'd like that for printers and cartridges too.

Re:good! (2, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417529)

Sure. And that tends to be the best deal anyway. In Norway, lots of phones are sold at a discount, with the catch being, they're locked-up so they only work with a single provider, and you have to contractually agree to use that provider for atleast a year.

The thing is though, the plan they offer you is so much worse than other plans available, even other plans from the same provider, that the "free phone" is anything but. It's not a good deal to get a "free phone" pay $20/month and $0.10/minute rather than buying a similar phone yourself for $300, pay $0/month and $0/minute for the first 150 minutes, $0.07/minute thereafter. To take a random (but real) example.

If you use 200 minutes/month (fairly average here) the first plan would, including phone, cost you $480/year.

The second plan would cost you $142/year if you switch phones every 3 years. Even if you switch phones every single year, that'll still be $342/year, so aprox $150/year cheaper than the "free" phone.

Once you include SMS, the picture is even more bleak for the "free" phone.

Re:good! (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417987)

Well, that's pretty much what European law says: if you buy a phone, you can choose your own carrier; and if you sell phones, they have to accept any SIM, not just your favourite carrier's. (European law also forbids region-locking of DVD players -- every DVD player sold on the Continent is multi-region -- and sooner or later will forbid lockout chips in games consoles, requiring them to accept third-party games and accessories. Recall that third-party games were what rescued the Atari 2600 from oblivion; Atari's own offerings had become dire before the likes of Imagic and Activision brothe new life into the console with games that didn't suck donkey bollocks.)

Note that the UK has a history of opting-out of the most working-person-friendly parts of EU law, and probably will be expelled in disgrace from the EU within 10 to 15 years' time. In the UK, DVD players are still sold locked to Region 2 (though all except Sony can be unlocked simply by typing a not-very-secret code on the remote) and it's legal to bundle a phone with a service contract -- as long as the phone can be made to work with another carrier's SIM after the contract is up.

Re:good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21418229)

I should be able to buy a cell phone and use it with any carrier I choose, technical limitations notwithstanding.
Here in Finland, it used to be illegal bind a cell phone and a carrier. So carriers couldn't give away almost free phones and force customers a long and expansive contracts. Currently binding is allowed with 3G phones, but not 2G (which iPhone is). As a customer, it made calls much cheaper.

I like how the icon.. (2, Funny)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416427)

...is a old school brick cell phone.

Re:I like how the icon.. (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417307)

we call them "Zach Morris phones" 'round these parts.

I think that says more about these parts than about those old phones, though.

American viewpoint (3, Insightful)

Amigori (177092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416587)

Perhaps its just my viewpoint as an American, but this seems like Vodafone is complaining because they are not the exclusive carrier (and can't charge for every little thing) and the iPhone falls under a different style plan, like here in the States. Remember, Vodafone is Verizon Wireless's largest shareholder and if Vodafone is anything like their American counterpart, they'll use every dirty trick in the book, to screw both their customer and their competition. I bet that Apple has enough lawyers on staff/contract to ensure that this type of sales agreement is compliant with Germany law.

The phone seems to be programmed (according to the article anyways...anyone have specific details?) to only use the T-Mobile network while in Germany. That should mean that while in Germany, it won't roam on Vodafone's, or anyone else's, network, thus allowing Vodafone to bill DT for the roaming agreement/charges, regardless of whether or not the customer has roaming included in their plan. Although I could be completely off, its really just a guess. I have used VZW phones in the past where it will have 0-10% of signal instead of switching to a competing (roaming) CDMA tower in sight. No, I can't hear you now.

As for "the use of the device being limited to certain fees within T-Mobile's subscription offerings." Perhaps they've setup a plan similar to AT&T/Cingular here where a number of charges that are typically a "per X" fee are instead a "flat rate" fee. They don't expand on it and I don't understand German (just English, French, and Spanish) to read the T-Mobile website for futher contract details; just a rate comparison box that's similar enough to the AT&Ts plans to understand. Vodafone doesn't want to compete against a non-standard, consumer friendly plan. VZW here wants you to pay for everything you can do with your phone. I'm surprised you don't get commercials while dialing from or to VZW handsets...oh...right...crappy pop ringers...

Re:American viewpoint (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416961)

VZW here wants you to pay for everything you can do with your phone. I'm surprised you don't get commercials while dialing from or to VZW handsets...oh...right...crappy pop ringers...

What if Apple signed their US exclusive agreement with Verizon? Would you have the same opinion? What if you were given a choice with the iPhone to use AT&T or Verizon. Who would you go with and why? Don't you think Verizon and AT&T would then compete and provide you better service and prices for your business and YOU would benefit from that?
I don't care who or if Apple singed an exclusive agreement with myself but I would see the benefits as an end user to have choice. Obviously some countries have different opinions on what is allowed and not allowed or look at these things a little more then others do. I know that had the US government not made some specific laws, we would all be buying tires and gas from the same car company that we bought are cars from.
For the same reasons I do not have to buy an iPhone if I do not like the arrangements, Apple does not have to sell the iPhone if it does not like the arrangements either. Does the consumer benefit overall from either of those decisions? It depends. I've found that these agreements usually lead to similar agreements across all of the competitors selling the same services or products. Think DirecTV with the NFL compared to Dish with MLB. Sirius with NFL compared to XM with MLB. Comcast bundling the NFL network with other sports packages and not offering it separately. Comcast and Verizon with their own versions of the triple play. Not all of these are directly related to the iPhone but the concept is the same and everyone has an opinion on whether they are getting a deal or it is unfair.

Re:American viewpoint (1)

Amigori (177092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418073)

If Apple would have gone with VZW, there would be x(iPhones sold) more VZW customers. My opinion of VZW would remain the same: Poor service, locked down handsets, and high fees for things that are simple on other carriers. If I had to use an iPhone and choose between AT&T and VZW, I would choose ATT; see previous sentence for why (although whoever has better coverage depends completely on where you live). Those two companies already compete with similar products and services in the same market. I have not seen prices come down and service quality go up, just more "latest & greatest" handsets with worse battery life. The best Motorola, MotoFone [motorola.com] , in years won't even come out here because all it is a phone. Every national carrier has exclusive phones, yet only the GSM-based handsets can be taken to a competitors network (excluding the iPhone). I'm not hearing anyone complain about the Samsung Juke being locked to VZW or the LG Fuzic being locked to Sprint. There's nothing, except govt services, that doesn't have a competitor or a comparable choice. I'd be hard pressed to find anything where I don't have a choice. Doctors, yes. Pet Food, yes. Autos, yes. Rx, 98% yes. Clothes, yes. Electronics, yes. Concrete, yes. Lumber, yes. Fuel, yes. Groceries, yes. Books, yes. Banking, yes. Govt services, no. (That last one makes for an interesting debate for some other forum.)

This isn't the 1920s when there was still limited choices and you could choose any color paint, as long as it was black, to paraphrase Henry Ford. And even then, he still had suppliers, including Goodyear and Standard Oil. And those Anti-Trust laws you are referring to have worked extremely well to prevent any one company from dominating the tech industry. Nothing like getting your Office Suite from a different company as your Operating System. **cough, cough** [sidebar] Personally, OSX or *BSD, OpenOffice; I know /. will mix in Linux and the various other OS & Office packages, just saying, mainstream users. You know, the ones who's password you have to unlock every week because they can't remember their Pet's name plus 01. [/sidebar]

Personal choice will always be yours, whether you want an iPhone or not, Organic groceries or not, an SUV or a Mini, etc. etc. Consumers have more choice and quality today than ever in the history of man. Though I do like your argument about content delivery companies bundling certain packages only with specific services. That I see as collusion and anti-competitive, but a different argument from the cell industry. Mainly because of laws granting a local monopoly to the last mile provider combined with asinine HOA rules prohibiting dishes. About the only way to "get back at" your cable comapny is to turn off your service, and few are willing to do that. Satellite radio is an interesting market and I had XM for a while. But I didn't need it and I can still listen to my team on AM/FM. Most of the shows I listened to, I can grab the podcast or the stream, my choice.

RE: AC... I figured Germany would have near 100% GSM coverage by each carrier, I just didn't know where to look on the .de sites to find a coverage map. And yes, most American plans still pull incoming calls from your minutes. My plan from Nextel allows free Incoming calls, but I do pay more for that "feature."

Re:American viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417979)

Generally there is no roaming within Germany*, as all carriers have (almost) 100% coverage using their own infrastructure.

BTW, the Telecom-ihones-plans are the most expensive plans since years in Germany. Perhaps because 30% of the revenue made with the plans(not only the profit!) goes directly to apple.
I do not know exactly the plans of vodafon, but all the plans are usually almost the same and usually quite customer friendly, if you obey the fine print. (BTW, do you Americans still pay for incoming calls?)

> they'll use every dirty trick in the book, to screw both their customer and their competition
Thats true for every telecommunication company. And banks, insurances....

(* except O2, which roams in the Telecom network only if no O2 net is available.)

Re:American viewpoint (2, Interesting)

TheJasper (1031512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418231)

I think the difference is that in general in the states the attitude is that companies can do what they want and consumers can choose not to buy. In Europe the attitude is more like companies have mucho power and when consumers don't have choice things should be regulated. Given that until recently many european countries still had state phone monopolies this means that there is mucho regulation (another favorite european pasttime).

Re:American viewpoint (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418291)

Verizon Wireless is more like its Verizon parent, not Vodafone parent. Vodafone, for all of its faults, has always been (at least in the UK) a fairly open mobile operator. They were one of the last to resist locking their contract GSM phones back when Orange and one2one started the trend there.

I've always thought Vodafone shouldn't have any ties to Verizon Wireless, it never made any sense. They apparently only stay in because it makes a lot of money, but Verizon Wireless's management has always let Verizon call the shots, they've never made any use of their links to Vodafone (just offering R-UIMs would be a vast improvement and would make it easier to provide international roaming), and their entire strategy is counter to what Vodafone has generally stood for. The entire "partnership" started off on entirely the wrong foot, with Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) throwing a hissy fit because Vodafone bought an operator, AirTouch, that Verizon wanted to buy. At the time Verizon and AirTouch had a joint venture in PrimeCo, one of Verizon Wireless's predecessors. Verizon promptly dissolved PrimeCo as apparent retaliation for Vodafone's/AirTouch's slight of them.

Investors have noticed, and every few years motions come up to get Vodafone out of Verizon Wireless, but Vodafone's management have so far resisted on the basis that the division generates much more in profits than they would expect to get if they tried to go it alone.

news flash: iphone lock in sucks (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416621)

1. the phone is not subsidised by the plan - you pay for the whole thing up front

2. carrier lock in is the worst of the worst, you don't get to make excuses for it just because it's apple.

3. many EU countries have laws against crapy lock in products like this, it's good for the consumer.

Re:news flash: iphone lock in sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21416957)

Except you forget what carrier lock in has given Apple the ability to provide. Verizon et al would have jumped at the chance to charge you incrementally for data, emailing photos, ringtones (yes, still free), etc. The list is quite long. Wake up.

Re:news flash: iphone lock in sucks (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417013)

yeah right because i couldn't possibly get data, email and ringtones on another provider.

wake up to your self.

Re:news flash: iphone lock in sucks (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418381)

If Apple had sold the phone directly, T-Mobile and AT&T users, to name but two GSM networks with unlimited data plans, would have both had accessed to unlimited data, photo (and anything else) emailing, etc, etc, without any negotiation on Apple's part. Ringtones are not free on the iPhone.

The reality is that Apple has fucked up from a customer viewpoint. They don't care because people are buying the phone anyway, but the reality is that the only thing "they got" out of carrier exclusivity was visual voicemail, and the ability to hide about $100 of the cost of a $500 (initially ~$700) phone ($100 seems to be about the average kick-back.)

That seems a pretty poor deal to me, especially considering the sacrifices they had to make. The thing can only be activated anew, you can't simply swap your SIM from your existing account into a new iPhone, which means it's only "easy" to switch to for people who aren't already on a GSM carrier. So much for "just works". People trying to roam internationally with it are being hit by outrageous roaming fees. Locations poorly served by the chosen carrier (and trust me, AT&T sucks around where I live; T-Mobile in this area is by far the best carrier, both in terms of operators running real mobile phone standards and amongst all the operators claiming to be mobile phone operators) are areas the iPhone cannot be reasonably sold in. And Apple themselves have signed up to a program of constant updates designed to break uncrippled iPhones in the most dramatic ways, which aside from the maintenance cost, is doing Apple's PR over-all no good whatsoever. If the iPod was the product that would make the Mac respectable, the iPhone seems to be the product that will lead people to steer clear of them for fear of a manufacturer that engages in sonying [slashdot.org] .

And for what? Is there any evidence at all that the iPhone wouldn't be selling so well if it had come out at $700, was selling today at $500, and didn't support visual voicemail? Especially given all the potential customers who for one reason or another prefer a non-AT&T GSM carrier and aren't buying the iPhone as a result?

Apple will not care because they're making a profit in the short term, and because of the usual gaggle of moronic "analysts" that are willing to write articles on how Apple is somehow sticking it to the carriers by giving the carriers exactly what they want and not forcing the carriers to pay huge amounts of money in subsidies. If they understood the consequences of what they're doing, they'd realize they could have made a great deal more money, and avoided sullying their reputation, by losing the control freak attitude, and not being terrified of the carriers as they obviously were. They never even needed carrier approval, and there's not a GSM carrier in the US that wouldn't have given their approval anyway; that's the saddest part.

Re:news flash: iphone lock in sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21417547)

the phone is not subsidised by the plan - you pay for the whole thing up front
Yeah right. Why the hell do you think Apple would do a stupid thing like limit themselves to one carrier if major subsidies weren't involved? Using your brain is allowed...

We college kids have a word for that... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416625)

It's called "cockblocking" :)

Court in Hamburg (3, Informative)

magerquark.de (466363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417183)

The court in Hamburg is well known for its strange decisions. A guy is even logging lots of trials from that single judge that is resonsible: http://www.buskeismus.de/ [buskeismus.de] (German only, sorry)

interesting (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417281)

It's interesting to see the different winners and losers in other countries.

Dear German Apple fanboys (1)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417521)

You can't have your iPhone yet. Send thanks to Vodaphone.

Looks like a great PR move to me. I'm sure customers will flock to them for having saved them from getting the iPhones they wanted.

Re:Dear German Apple fanboys (1)

fforw (116415) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417593)

The iPhone was not that much of a sales wonder anyway.. no comparison to the USA.. most people here seem to be highly critical of paying 1600 EUR for two years without any kind of flatrate (that's $2300 now).

Summary is misleading (5, Informative)

SubliminalLove (646840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21417579)

The summary is incorrect -- I don't blame the submitter, because the CNN article is not very clear about what's going on either. If you happen to read German, here [tagesschau.de] is a reasonably good article on the issue. To summarize: In Germany, this sort of exclusive contract does not exist -- you can get certain deals that are bound to your keeping a phone with a particular carrier (eg, a 200 phone for 15 if you keep a particular plan for two years, if you terminate the contract before then you have to pay the rebate back), but there's no such thing here as a phone that won't work on a competitor's network. Vodafone is asking a judge in Hamburg to rule on the legality of the exclusive service contract, but they are not preventing the sale of the device itself.

The iPhone is locked forever! (1)

egghat (73643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21418339)

Even after your contract expires in two years.

You can unlock every phone after your contract expires here in Germany. I don't think there's a way Apple and T-Mobile can change this.

It will be very interesting to see how much Orange will charge for an unlocked iPhone that it has to sell in accordance to frech laws.

And I'm astonished that Apple doesn't do this in all countries. Why not simply sell an iPhone for 400 Euros with T-Mobile contract and 800 Euro without a contract (like everybody else). Apple should make (a lot of) money in both cases.

Bye egghat
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