Did Apple and AT&T sign a 5 -year exclusive deal for the iPhone back in 2008? And if so, have either party breached terms that would nullify the contract? That is the thrust of the case being made as we learn that USA Today reported on court documents did reveal a 5-year contract. All eyes are on the two companies to watch if either tips its hand on the status.
If the contract is still being enforced, then we’ve got at least another year of exclusivity, wrapping the iPhone up at AT&T and keeping it away from 75% of the top four big teleco’s. If not, then we might see the iPhone hit the road and start popping up like a whack-a-mole at other carriers.
What could be in the contract that might provide an escape for Apple? Surely sales thresholds must be met, but network features such as tethering, MMS, or network improvements could have been worked into the agreement and are anyone’s guess. What matters is this: AT&T has a lot to lose if the iPhone walks.
Meanwhile, both iPhone-lusting Verizon users and disgruntled AT&T users dream of a day where the iPhone will play on a field of red. Verizon red.