Apple COO: Leave AT&T Alone
How much longer does Apple plan to continue its iPhone exclusivity contract with AT&T? Some say until June, when the device arrives on Verizon’s airwaves. Others say fall.
Not unreasonable predictions given issues with AT&T’s network and the simple fact that adding Verizon (VZ) would more than double the iPhone’s addressable market. But perhaps a bit overeager, particularly in light of Apple COO Tim Cook’s remarks about the carrier during a company earnings call Monday.
Asked about AT&T (T), the bad press its network has been receiving lately and the impact of negative reports on the Apple (AAPL) brand, Cook defended the carrier.
“First of all, AT&T is a great partner,” he said. “We’ve been working with them since well before we announced the first iPhone. And I think it is important to remember they had more mobile broadband usage than any other carrier in the world.”
Emphasizing the large view, Cook continued, “And in the vast majority of locations we think that iPhone customers are having a great experience, from the research that we have done. As you know, AT&T has acknowledged that they are having some issues in a few cities and they have very detailed plans to address these. We have personally reviewed these plans, and we have very high confidence that they will make significant progress toward fixing them.”
Now, Cook’s remarks certainly don’t preclude the possibility that Apple will end its exclusivity arrangement with AT&T. But his eager defense of the carrier suggests there’s at least a chance that his company will renew it.
Of course, Apple did a hell of a job talking up the PowerPC architecture too–right up until it dumped it for Intel’s (INTC) x86 design in 2006.