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Initial iPhone Exclusivity Agreement Between Apple and AT&T was for Five Years

Article Comments  61  

May 10, 2010, 5:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

According to legal documents uncovered by Engadget, the initial exclusive iPhone distribution agreement between Apple and AT&T was five years. The 2008 court documents cited by Engadget include the following statements made by Apple: "The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not 'secret' either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the iPhone's release – stating, 'AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world" ... and ... "[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T's] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years... Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power..." Apple did not respond to requests to verify the report, but the documents are public in a court case involving Apple. The language used by Apple clearly indicates that the deal struck between AT&T and Apple in 2007 was to last for five years. The documents do not in any way indicate if that initial agreement is still in place, or if it has been altered. AT&T has been the sole wireless network to carry the iPhone in the U.S. since it went on sale in June 2007, three years ago. An AT&T spokesperson told Phone Scoop in an email, "We have a great relationship with Apple. We don't comment on the specifics of our relationship."

Apple Legal Filing »



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May 10, 2010, 5:52 PM


...I guess Verizon users shan't be getting their iPhone.
If the article is accurate, not for 2 more years. I suppose they will have to "suffer" with the Android OS phones, instead.
but those were basically my first thoughts.

Your post made me giggle. It was kinda embarrasing really ☹️ You should be ashamed of yourself.
its ok dude you dont have to fight it no more i was just like you saying the iphone was better but the best switch i ever did was moving to an android phone my incredible droid just completely mops the floor with my iphone 3GS its better resolution w...
This is going to crush the poor guy's spirit'

May 10, 2010, 6:04 PM

That's how I originally remember it. . .

I don't know where all these theories/rumors came from, it's as if everybody forgot it was a 5yr contract. Besides there's nothing special about the Iphone, my Droid does multitouch, and if I need to, I can *actually* change out a spare battery!
Things special about the iPhone:

1) Stability
2) Speed
3) Upgrade Path
4) Application Quality
5) Support

And if your Droid does multitouch how come you can't hold down the shift key and type a letter? 😲

May 11, 2010, 12:06 AM

meh next

I am real tired reading about the Iphone, a few of my friends have it its nice it makes them happy. I have a Droid and I like it very much it makes me happy. Arguing technical differences between the devices is moot. its that old Chevy VS ford argument idiots had back in high school. the difference at this point is taste not quality or quantity

I think if Apple does not get another cell phone carrier selling there phones in the USA they are in trouble. If you have read all the info droid is taking over domestically. The Android market is growing at a rate of 10,000 apps per month (not crappy ones ether) If Apple holds until 2012 to offer it on other cell phone carriers they are sunk. They will be under 7% (a position I think they like f...
I could care less about the iphone.lol its a pain to troubleshoot.lol 😈

May 10, 2010, 6:11 PM

And the truth will set you free...maybe...

Although I've never really lost sleep on when the exclusive deal ends with AT&T...I am glad this has come out in a way. Folks now know...or at least have a gauge on when the rights will end.

But, that doesn't mean that Apple couldn't produce a different phone for Verizon and give it a different name. I wonder if it says anything about the OS in addition to the phone. If it just means that Verizon can't get the iPhone, that's one thing. But could Verizon get a phone by a different name with the same OS?
doesn't seem very apple-y to do that i would think, below their view of themselves to release 2 different types of things.
Usually such agreements include an opt-out clause after a certain amount of time has passed. Also the article specifically mentions that it's possible the agreement has been modified since.
flip mode

May 11, 2010, 1:42 PM

who cares...

i hope apple falls to the ground and the seeds get eaten by birds 🤣



May 10, 2010, 6:15 PM

Who didn't know this?

Honestly, who didn't know this? Various news sources were quoted in saying this back in the day.

Despite AT&T's network woes during the 3GS boom, AT&T has been competitive with the iPhone/iPad plan rates compared to international carriers.

Honestly, Apple's better off waiting until Verizon gets hit by the giant mess that is Android's development model and comes begging for the iPhone.
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