Orange's iPhone launch in jeopardy

Bad blood is simmering between Apple and mobile operator Orange, reportedly jeopardizing the iPhone's anticipated French launch. French newsweekly Challenges reports Orange is objecting to Apple's demands for iPhone commissions, said to total more than one third of each subscription fee--the magazine adds if an agreement is not reached by the middle of next week, Orange may not receive authorization to initiate iPhone sales prior to the holiday season.

This is not the first bump in the road for the Apple/Orange partnership: Apple CEO Steve Jobs was reportedly fuming after Didier Lombard, CEO of Orange parent firm France Telecom, broke ranks to announce its iPhone distribution deal prior to an official statement. Analysts expected Apple to confirm the agreement at its Apple Expo in late September, but no official announcement ever materialized.

Another wrinkle: French law states mobile phone operators must manufacture handsets available for sale without subscriptions, so consumers may purchase devices for use with SIM cards from any carrier they choose. Because Apple demands a share of monthly subscriber tariffs from its operator partners, it is firmly opposed to marketing iPhones without a carrier contract. It is presently unknown how or if the law will impact the iPhone's French debut.

For more on the iPhone's troubled French launch: 
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