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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 22, 2007 at 11:05 AM

Apple disrupting mobile phone business models

We’re finally getting to the meat of Apple’s dealings with wireless carriers.

It sounds like what’s really revolutionary about the iPhone is the way it’s shifting control from carriers to device manufacturers.

From an impressive Financial Times story breaking the news that T-Mobile, Orange and O2 will carry the iPhone in Germany, France and England:

The deal gives manufacturers of handsets for the first time a direct share of the revenues a mobile phone operator makes from calls and data transfers, marking a shift in the relationship between the parties.

Until now, mobile operators have campaigned fiercely against such an approach, but industry experts expect that Apple’s success in securing the deals could spur other handset manufacturers to try to secure similar terms.

I wonder, though, Apple really has as much pull over carriers as the story implies. Are carriers really being snowed by Apple? They’re crafty negotiators who may care more about the deals being made than the portrayals of their new partner.

You’ve also got to wonder about the kind of relationships Apple is building, if it really is dictating terms and snubbing executives. If it bullies them with iPhone 1.0, it may have a tougher time making deals with iPhone 2.0 and 3.0.

Comments | More in | Topics: Apple, Gadgets & products, Telecom

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