It was speculative before given the lack of independent confirmation, but now apparently Apple has gone on record to confirm that the original deal signed with AT&T for iPhone exclusivity back in 2007 was a five-year deal. That means at least some legal hoops would need jumping through if we’re ever going to see that oft-rumored Verizon iPhone before 2012.
Engadget reports that court documents filed by Apple in a California class-action suit confirm the original AT&T exclusivity deal had a five-year duration. The suit, ongoing since 2007, claims that Apple and AT&T were exerting a monopoly over iPhone service by surreptitiously locking iPhone buyers into renewing contracts with AT&T once their initial two years was up.
On the flip side, there are a number of reasons such a contract might be amended or canceled, so it’s not exactly a total given that the iPhone won’t appear on another carrier before 2012. But given the original terms, it could require some tricky negotiation or legal fancy footwork to get there.
Moreover, the class-action suit also alleges an illegal monopoly over the iPhone App Store, which the court ruled substantial enough to move forward. On both fronts then — consumer market and legal proceedings — it will be fascinating to watch for further details on when the AT&T iPhone exclusivity curtain might drop or even be forcibly struck down.
Do you think we’ll see the iPhone come to another carrier before 2012?