FYI, this is not a new deal, but the original deal that was inked back in 2007. Thus, ending the speculation of whether that was a 5 year exclusive contract.
The term of Apple and AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity deal has long been a mystery — although USA Today reported a five-year arrangement when the original iPhone came out in 2007, that number has never been independently confirmed, and it’s been looking suspect in recent weeks as Verizon iPhone chatter has gotten louder.
But the folks over at Engadget have been doing some digging and have some documented proof based on court documents filed by Apple in California in relation to the class action lawsuit filed in 2007 claiming that Apple and AT&T illegally exerted a monopoly over iPhone service by telling customers the iPhone’s required service contract was two years long when the Apple / AT&T exclusivity deal was actually for five years — thus requiring buyers to re-up with AT&T for three years if they wanted to keep using the iPhone.
Obviously Apple had to respond to these allegations, and in addition to arguing that no one was ever promised an unlocked iPhone after two years, the company’s lawyers repeatedly confirm the existence of the five-year agreement while noting it was publicly reported in USA Today. It’s extremely black and white — check out the Apple “legalize” below:
“The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not ‘secret’ either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the iPhone’s release – stating, “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world.”
“[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T’s] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years… Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power…”
What this means…no iPhone coming to another carrier for awhile folks.