Apple is ‘a little less arrogant than they used to be,’ says carrier exec

By , Feb 26, 2013

Steve Jobs White iPhone 4 No More

Faced with intensifying pressure as it vies for supremacy in the highly competitive smartphone market – fighting chief rival Samsung and other vendors left and right – Apple has reportedly softened its stance on carriers and has shifted in how it goes about doing business with the world’s wireless carriers, or so thinks one particular wireless industry executive.

Instead of putting on the ‘our way or the highway’ posture in its dealings with the people who are pushing the iPhone to wireless subscribers, Apple is “a little less arrogant than they used to be,” according to France Telecom-Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Here are some choice quotes…

AllThingsD sat down to talk with the CEO during a dinner with reporters in Barcelona on Monday:

Apple has become more flexible, paying more attention to everyone else, probably a little less arrogant than they used to be.

As competition in mobile grows fiercer with each passing day, Apple is now starting to feel the heat, but that’s a good thing, he remarks:

I think they are probably a little more under pressure, and it is quite nice.

Asked to comment on new entrants like Mozilla’s Firefox OS that will power over three dozen low-end handsets, in addition to the new BlackBerry 10 OS and the various mobile Linux variants such as Ubuntu for tablets and Tizen, a collaborative effort between chip maker Intel and Samsung, Stephane responded:

There is probably not room for everyone. But all of us hope that among those initiatives, at least one will be able to emerge as a third ecosystem.

He isn’t putting much faith into Microsoft because Windows Phone, in his view, has a “very difficult” road to truly compete with iOS and Android.

Nokia?

The Nokia family in my opinion is nice, but there is no ‘wow’ effect. When you have a market with very steady players like Apple and Samsung, you need to have a ‘wow’ effect.

On the other hand, if you ask analysts, that third ecosystem will be Microsoft’s Windows. The latest version of Microsoft’s operating system scales from tablet and smartphone form factors and all the way up to notebooks, desktops and beyond.

France Telecom-Orange along with SFR spent €1.2 billion to acquire the 800MHz band, or approximately $1.6 billion. Due to LTE fragmentation, that frequency band is not supported by the iPhone 5 and many other devices. By the way, that could change soon thanks to a new Qualcomm wireless chip which supports as much as 40 different bands on a single die. It will likely provide wireless capabilities to the next batch of iOS devices.

However, bureaucracy means Apple users in France are currently unable to use 4G LTE on their devices until at least the end of 2013, by which time local carriers are planning to start refarming the 1,800MHz band, which is compatible with the Apple smartphone. That the highly competitive European market has over a hundred wireless carriers isn’t exactly helping either.

Carriers have always had the upper hand in terms of the power of the relationship with the handset manufacturers, telling them what to build and what features to implement. That has changed for the better shortly after the iPhone came along as Apple was able to wrestle control away from carriers.

Late Steve Jobs’s disdain for carriers was legendary. Here we see the iconic Apple co-founder  at the D3 conference in 2005 calling carriers “orifices”.

Five years after the iPhone, carriers are still very much the biggest threat to innovation, opines The Verge.

Stan Stingman, who was the CEO of then Cingular Wireless, had agreed to support Apple’s iPhone project without even seeing the device in action.

“It was a big gamble, but I had that much faith in Steve Jobs,” he said. The Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg also hates carriers, likening major U.S. telcos in 2007 to the Soviet ministries.

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  • Kurt Andersen

    Samsung, on the other hand…

  • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

    Well, that’s what happens when you’re not the only player in your niche anymore. I’m glad Apple finally fell of its high horse. Being humble never hurts, being cocky does.

    • TesticularFortitude

      I think it’s due to leadership changing hands. Regardless of not being the only show in town, If Steve were here, Apple would still be cocky. Tim leads in a different manner.

      And lest we not forget, because of Steve’s bravado, we now have app stores controlled by Apple and the likes and not the carriers. And iPhones aren’t bloated with carrier crapware and carrier insignias covering our devices.

      How soon we forget.

      • Liam Mulcahy

        Steve Jobs is better than tim cook

      • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

        I haven’t forgotten and I’m well aware that Tim Cook being charge changed Apple’s behavior towards the rest of the world. I just think that’s one of the good things that happened under Cook’s leadership :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1496513068 Zach Krase

      i agree, they need the pressure so they can jump really far ahead and blow everyone away.

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      Say that to carriers, the most arrogant people in business. If Apple join them, probably you’ll expect updates “a la Android”. Do you really want that?

      Just to remind you that beside Android, Symbian was the most customized operative system used by carriers, and before iPhone, they were totally screwed by the lack of updates and crapware everywhere. And I can say some old Windows Mobile devices too… (don’t be confused by Windows Phone 7)

    • Falk M.

      “Being humble never hurts”
      I want to live where you live…

  • Muhammad

    Apple maybe less arrogant, but hardcore apple fanboys are just as arrogant

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      oh man, arrogant fanboys you can find in any platform. From Apple to Microsoft, from Android to iOS, from XBOX to PS3, and even on PC hardcore gamers. Don’t be silly thinking that is only a “Apple fans problem”. Its that kind of generalization that made people who never was arrogant, be arrogant.

      As you can see, people here talk about Apple, and some crazy guys who use other platforms came here just to troll…

  • PersianHawkes

    Samsung is taking over FTW.

    • Kaptivator

      Put down the crack pipe…Please!!

      • PersianHawkes

        I should let you borrow it I made it out of an iphone 5.

      • Kaptivator

        I just say no…As you should. Obviously you are in a crack educed high that is causing a false sense of reality which shows in your post(s)…not just this one either.

      • PersianHawkes

        Hahaha I see you edited since to the correct term.

      • http://twitter.com/Konahamarue ElementalXTC

        HTC and LG are hit Sammy where it hurts soon enough

  • http://twitter.com/RogWilco Nick Williams

    On the one hand, it’s nice to hear a arrogant-to-humility story. On the other hand, the fact that the wireless carriers seem to be pleased with this makes me think this is generally a bad thing.

    I mean, when it came to the carriers, “Apple’s way” was to not let them weasel their way into the software update process, or what features were available (or which to turn off). Sure, some things still made it through (think FaceTime on AT&T), but if Apple is getting softer, its only going to get worse from here.

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      Apple was always arrogant to carriers but very humble to costumers and developers. It has some rules (i talk by myself as a dev) but that rules are great to bring us security, quality and consistency across apps.