Cingular CEO: We made Apple bend in contract negotiations

“Movie studios and record labels have bent to Apple. But in the end, Apple bent to Cingular with a multi-year, exclusive US contract for an entire line of different iPhone models, Glenn Lurie, Cingular’s president of national distribution told journalists at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2007) today,” Sascha Segan reports for PC Magazine.

Segan reports, “When asked about a give-and-take leading to the Apple-Cingular partnership, Lurie said, ‘I’m not sure we gave anything.’ Later, he commented, ‘I think they bent a lot.’ That bending included allowing the phone to be locked to Cingular…”

“The contract covers ‘all models’ of the iPhone, including several other devices in the works that may be ‘coming out very quickly,’ Lurie said. His comment addressed in part a criticism that the iPhone doesn’t use Cingular’s new high-speed HSDPA network,” Segan reports.

Segan reports, “That isn’t true worldwide, as Cingular only exists in the US. Apple is free to seek other partners for global distribution, he said. And Apple is also free to build other iPods without phone capability that won’t be sold through Cingular—though he was unclear on whether a Wi-Fi only version of the iPhone would fall under Cingular’s thumb.

“While ‘there are bad guys out there that unlock phones,’ Lurie said, Apple and Cingular are taking unspecified steps to make the phone more difficult to unlock and use on other GSM carriers in the US,” Segan reports.

Segan reports, “The phone will be sold exclusively through Apple and Cingular stores, Apple and Cingular’s Web sites and Cingular’s direct-mail unit, Lurie said. It will not be available through indirect retailers, the ‘Joe’s cell phone shop’ you see on every street corner—though Apple is free to go to big-box stores like Target and Wal-Mart, Lurie said.”

More in the full article here.

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69 Comments

  1. What good can possibly come from saying that. The bottom line is that the success of this deal will depend on how many customers buy an iPhone. Boasting that Cingular got themselves a good deal and supposedly bent Apple to their will does nothing from the consumers point of view – what do they care about the negotiations? All it does is piss of Apple.

  2. ” . . . including several other devices in the works that may be ‘coming out very quickly,’ Lurie said.”

    OOPS! Steve just flew out the door with a ball gag in one hand and a rubber mallet in the other. Phil Schiller fainted.

  3. I’m not based in US, but Cingular CEO stuck out like a sore thumb at MacWorld last week. I can’t believe why Apple would want to associate with him. Compare him with Dr. Google and trendy Yahoo Yang.

  4. See what I mean about this chickensh&t company. I despise Cingular and all U.S. cell phone companies. They treat consumers with no respect at all.

    “BAD GUYS” unlock phones?

    What if I want a fricking unlocked phone?

    Mark my words. Cingular is going to rake anyone who wants one of these phones over the coals.

    “I’m sorry, your contract with your existing phone that does not work is not up yet. If you want the new Apple Phone, you will have to wait or pay $1500, thank you for being a Cingular customer for the last 10 years.”

  5. Cingular’s board approved a deal without ever seeing a prototype of iPhone. Does that imply Apple bent in contract negotiations or not? It sounds more like Apple holding the cards, showing those needed to be shown and then making Cingular think they have the upper hand. If Cingular had been so superior in business negotiation, they would have been able to force Apple to put down all the cards on the table and make sure everything was covered instead of having to take a leap of faith.

  6. To me, it sounds more like he’s taking some of the heat off of Apple for limitations like (currently) no high speed networks and the DRM forced on the iPod portion by the record labels. Apple can now simply point to the phone companies and record lables when anyone complains about any feature they would like that isn’t in the phone.

  7. What does ‘multi-year’ contract mean? I can’t believe Apple would sign up for more than 3 years. Those guys at Cingular obviously have as much style as the product they sell.

    I agree with the previous posts; Apple will change partners if Cingular doesn’t behave, and I can’t believe Steve Jobs didn’t secure Apple’s interests in the agreement he made with them.

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