AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) signed a five-year exclusivity agreement in 2007 for the iPhone, according to recently unearthed court documents.
When the exclusive relationship between the two firms will end has long been a key point of debate in the wireless industry. In 2007, shortly before the original iPhone was released, USA Today reported that the two companies had entered into a five-year deal ending in 2012. However, Apple and AT&T never publicly confirmed this, and speculation has since run rampant on when AT&T may lose its hold on the iPhone.
However, according to court documents unearthed by Engadget, Apple asserts it is common knowledge that the deal is for five years. In the filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple said the length of the agreement is no secret.
"[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," the filing states. "Moreover, it is sheer speculation--and illogical--that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power." The filing is part of an ongoing case over whether Apple's relationship with AT&T for the iPhone constitutes a monopoly.
Of course, it's unclear whether the original agreement has been ammended in the intervening years. An AT&T spokeswoman declined to comment, and an Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In March, the Wall Street Journal reported Apple is going to produce a CDMA version of the iPhone this year, which reignited speculation over a potential iPhone for CDMA carrier Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ).
- see this Engadget post
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