AT&T and Apple: A marriage made in hell

“AT&T’s epic iPhone 4 pre-order snafu on Tuesday was the latest in a long line of headaches the carrier has caused Apple. But even with concerns that AT&T accidentally revealed some subscribers’ account information to other customers during Tuesday’s fiasco, it’s unlikely that Apple will suffer much fallout from its latest carrier crisis,” David Goldman reports for “Apple’s public comments about AT&T have largely been positive, often focusing on the substantial monetary investment that AT&T has put into improving its network. But behind the scenes, experts believe Apple is irate.”

Goldman reports, “‘It’s a hard position for Steve Jobs to be in because AT&T and Apple remain partners, so he can’t be too outspoken in the press,’ said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner. ‘But AT&T has limited the iPhone experience.'”

“Many mobile analysts believe that a Verizon iPhone is coming soon, perhaps as early as this fall. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs & Co., who have built their company’s reputation on devices with an unparalelled user experience, have to continue their fractured relationship with AT&T — which has made iPhone customers’ experience less than stellar,” Goldman reports. “‘The frustration that consumers and our clients have towards AT&T is incredible, and this is just another thing to add to the list,’ Milanesi said. ‘Apple must be getting to the point where it is thinking, ‘Enough is enough.””

Goldman reports, “Apple said it sold 600,000 iPhones on Tuesday, vastly outpacing its sales of earlier models. The deluge was 10 times as many orders as AT&T fielded this time last year for the iPhone 3GS, and the company shut down sales Wednesday because it’s already run out of inventory. Pre-orders, which had initially been scheduled for June 24 delivery, are now only guaranteed to arrive by July 14.”

“Though all of that should be good news for Apple, it was far from sunshine and roses on Tuesday. AT&T couldn’t handle the stampede of pre-orders, and online and over-the-phone ordering returned frustrating error messages and busy signals,” Goldman reports. “Many early-bird customers who showed up at retail stores had their information taken down on paper, which AT&T entered into the system manually after the systems were back online… While Apple apologized Wednesday for the pre-order problems, no one at AT&T has uttered the words ‘we’re sorry.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Time for the divorce, Steve. See other people. Play the field.

And, to you faux-pro-AT&T viral whitewashers with your canned “whiner” and “crybaby” talking points: Don’t bother. We can trace IP addresses back to viral marketing firms with the best of them. Your astroturfing attempts will be deleted and your IP addresses will be blocked.

Note to AT&T: Astroturfing is no substitute for infrastructure investment.


  1. “Behind the scenes Apple is irate”

    Apple is actually more than irate. They are collecting all customer complaints and investigating every detail. That will be how ATT loses exclusivity before the initially agreed to time period.

  2. During the fiasco, I managed to reserve an iP4 for pickup at the Apple store on 6/24, and I bought two phones via Apple’s website, accidentally (well, one was the result of a reported error, subsequently reported as actually having been purchased by email). One of the two will arrive on 6/24, the 2nd will ship on 7/2. I heard today that ship times are now delayed to 8/14. I only need one of these phones. My question to all of you is, should I go ahead and receive the 2nd that I bought online, and go pick up the reserved phone at the store, and try to sell the extra2, or does it not work that way?

  3. I’ve been posting here for a long time and is a registered MDN user. Your ATT bashing as of late has been unlike you and without thought. So Apple should divorce ATT and go exactly where? T-Mobile with it’s antiquated GSM network or Verizon and sprint with it’s CDMA or whatever mobile platform they use. Are you going to pay for re-tooling to do this. This is just childish on your part MDN and you know it. Apple and ATT sold all that they could deliver on the 24th yesterday. 600,000 worth of it and you still find a problem with the company who took a chance with Apple’s first iPhone when no one else wanted to. Was it tough yesterday, yes. However it does not warrant your take.

  4. i walked into a best buy and pre-ordered one. only took about 10 minutes, with no line. the transaction was all on paper. i’m a bit weary as to whether or not i’ll actually get one, but they said they will call me to schedule a pick-up appointment on the 24th. i just read that best buy is no longer taking pre-orders. *crossing fingers*

  5. I wonder, can any website handle that load of traffic? I mean with ATT, the updating iphone user is not only accessing for the phone then the server for all secure information. And new customers. all at once.

    All for the same product. Honestly could an Amazon even handle that? I don’t know I’m asking. If the answer is yes Amazon could, then ATT has really serious issues and is incompetent.

  6. Placing my order yesterday was pretty brutal. I finally got through but the whole experience seemed pretty amateurish. Still, I’m going to hold fire for now. My experience with ATT (NYC, San Francisco, Europe), has gotten much better over time. My experience with Verizon here in southern Connecticut and Princeton, New Jersey has been poor.
    We’ll see how this plays out over time.

  7. @Mac4life
    To correct you, both AT&T;and T-Mobile use HSPA and GSM. The former being a wide standard in Europe. Also where T-Mobile is based, Germany. Little do you realize, that the EU and England get to enjoy carrier choice. Unlike we Amercans. Don’t you wish you had a choice? Or should I label you an AT&T;fanboy/shill?

  8. No matter what is said here, without AT&T agreeing to Apple’s original terms, the iPhone would not be the humongous hit it is today.

    So, even though we’re seeing a marriage counselor and talking to Divorce Attorneys, it was not “A marriage made in hell”.

  9. Mac4lfe is exactly right. Apple should divorce AT&T;and go with …. who?

    The only other GSM carrier in the US is Tmobile, and they’re a joke. And that is really the only option, since there isn’t a CDMA iPhone (yet).

    Did AT&T;have technical issues yesterday? Definitely, but so did Deutsche Telekom. MDN isn’t ripping the Germain carrier a new hole.

    Is AT&T;’s exclusive lock on the iPhone holding back Apple’s market share in the US. Yes. But, AT&T;deserves the money they’ve made off it for betting on Apple 3 years ago. Verizon wasn’t willing to take that bet.

    AT&T;’s early iPhone upgrade promotion does give me the feeling we will see the iPhone on more US carriers in 2010, so that will definitely improve Apple’s market share. But, AT&T;will definitely be an important carrier for Apple for years to come.

    Thank you AT&T;for letting Apple bring us the phone Steve Jobs wanted to!

  10. [We can trace IP addresses back to viral marketing firms with the best of them. Your astroturfing attempts will be deleted and your IP addresses will be blocked.]

    Actually. Post them. Each astroturfing occurance. Each IP that gets used.

    In fact, add a ‘Wall of Shame’ to your top menu — next to ‘opinions’.

    Note to AT&T;, Rogers, etal. : Astroturfing is no substitute for infrastructure investment.

  11. That’s the wrong way to look at it, MDN. Apple expanding their number of US carrier partners wouldn’t be a divorce; the iPhone should remain an ATT handset.

    It’s simply time for Steve and ATT to become swingers. The marriage would live on.

  12. So…the crap is finally overflowing the can?

    Lots of comments…but all missing a long term view.

    Where are all the owners of the new RF spectrum auctions of a couple years ago hiding out?

    When is Apple going to set up its own iMobile network?

    That would let them use their data centers, and the new dark fiber backbone network being put in place now by an independent company, the ip6 protocols and the new RF spectrum to offer an “Apple Class” experience for iPhone, iPad, iPodTouch, MacBooks, etc.

    There has to be a good use for $40 Billion in cash and this sounds like a monster opportunity. I would move in the flick of a switch.

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