Tales of the Apple / AT&T Meltdown

iPhone and AT&T Ball and Chain

Wired has an interesting article in the August issue about the relationship between Apple and AT&T. You won’t find this article on the web yet but ZDNet summed up some of the highlights of the article.

It’s very interesting to see what happens behind the scene. Here are a few pieces worth noting:

Early on when an AT&T representative suggested to one of Jobs’ deputies that the Apple CEO wear a suit to meet with the AT&T board, he was told “We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits.”

One of the iPhone’s problems was that Apple had chosen to source the radio from Infineon, whose hardware was used widely in Europe but rarely in the US, where cell towers are placed farther apart and reception was therefore less forgiving. AT&T would say “Let’s resolve these issues together” and Apple would say “No, you resolve them. They’re not our problem. They’re your problem.”

One Apple source told Wired that Jobs has discussed dropping AT&T at least a half a dozen times.

On the two-year tethering impasse: Apple wanted it included in the data plan, AT&T wanted to charge extra.

Apple also heavily considered switching to Verizon numerous times. […] It concluded that switching to Verizon would be too complicated and expensive because the chips were different sizes and would necessitate rebuilding the iPhone from scratch. Apple also wasn’t convinced that Verizon’s network would fare much better and let’s not forget the nasty lawsuit that voiding its exclusive pact with AT&T would invite.

According to the article Qualcomm began working with Apple on a chip that could allow the iPhone to work on both the AT&T and Verizon networks.

Interesting indeed. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s probably much more going on…