iPhone carrier exclusiveness is HARMFULL!

Regardless which point of view you choose – carrier exclusiveness sucks! 
1) Customer
As a customer you have to buy the iPhone from one of the exclusive carriers, including a multi-year contract.
Even if you fulfilled your contract (or exited early via early termination fee), the property you bought (the iPhone) is not really yours,
since it’s just a useless paperweight without ANOTHER new exclusive carrier contract.
Apple or the exclusive carriers should be legally forced to OFFICIALLY(!) unlock iPhones which exited a contract

2) Developer
Developers look forward to the AppStore. The AppStore (=iTunes for Software) allows developers to sell their Applications directly on the customers device.
Apple takes 30% of the sales prices, so the developer gets 70%.
So whats important for the developer? A huge market – right. Whats makes a market huge? Right – authorized unlocks, since otherwise people probably wont update to the 2.0 appstore firmware and instead stay with 1.1.4 and use the inofficial installer.app – no revenue – great!

All this bad customer associations with the carrier-lock in ALREADY influence our mac software sales.
I work in the educational sector and while only one year ago a lot of people switched to the mac, now people add much more critzism when its about apple,
like -their are just another evil company, they are locking in their customers, probably they’ll lock you in with the mac like with the iphone- and so on.
The bad iPhone press and the poisioned atmosphere around the exclusive carriers (like evesdropping AT&T or T-Mobile) already influences the apple brand itself!

3) Investor
Well – Apple earns from iTunes sales and 30% from AppStore sales.
Anymore questions? The more iPhones in use, the more Apple will earn. So not officially unlocking iPhones just sucks from an investors point of view.
The revenue comes from the USE of the device, not the initial SALE of the device.
Of course the “brand issues” mentioned in the developers point of view apply here to – probably (in the long term) even more significant.

We (geeky) people all tend to forget the following:
There are a LOT of people not willing to sign a contract with one of the exclusive carriers, but they probably would buy used iPhones (and then produce revenue via AppStore and iTunes store).
Many (geeky) people are probably also able to unlock, jailbreak and activate their SIM-LOCKED iPhones, but out there is also a vaaaaast majority of kids, moms, grannys and so on, probably many of them already bought used (jailbreaked, unlocked and activated) iPhones, but they WONT be able to upgrade, jailbreak, unlock and activate them THEMSELVES, so they wont update – so: no appstore, no revenue for apple, the investors and the developers.

Am I really the only one realizing, that Apple shoots in his own knee with the carrier exlusiveness?

There are only a few options out of this vicious circle:

  1. blog it! we need public reception!
  2. don’t buy the iphone from an exclusive carrier
  3. let apple know, that they suck (some options mentioned here: https://crippledtechnology.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/take-action/)
  4. if you can’t resist buying the iphone, import it officially unlocked from a country, where apple and the providers are forced by the law to offer it unlocked (france)
  5. tell everybody you know – see 1.

6 Responses to iPhone carrier exclusiveness is HARMFULL!

  1. Tim Rueb says:

    Interesting point of view. First of all, the government should keep their noses out of this one. If you think this is bad, then buy another product. If the sales of the iPhone go down the company will have to rethink it’s strategy.

    Another company should be taking advantage of this situation by creating a a product that rivals the iPhone but without the exclusivity. They would clean up the market and leave the iPhone dazed and wondering what happened.

    If you get the government to intervene then you never get this competitive leap-frog effect of technology and service because there is no reason to anymore.

  2. crippledtechnology says:

    You are right – in case where the forces of market still work it’s true. But in this case (with the iPhone) we have a quite strange situation. On the one hand this locking policy definitly IS harmfull to (at least) the iPhone software business, on the other hand the barrier for developers is quite high if they want to switch to another platform.

    And the iPhone definitly limits consumers in every possible way and should trigger consumer protection rights. Even you buy the iPhone it’s still not your property. I am really baffled, when reading blog postings from people saying “No – don’t ask for (inofficial) iPhone unlocks, it’s illegal.”. We need a change in consumers minds. It’s their damn property. They bought it, they own it, they are allowed to do whatever they want. In France this is luckily even supported by the law in the form of official unlocks.

    Or imagine people working in companys where delegations to other countries are common. Are they really supposed to sell their iPhone and pay early termination fees at the beginning of every delegation and buy a new one in the target country??? On the one hand Apple tells us “We’re enterprise ready” and in fact with this policy they are just NOT. Think of consultants at those big-four auditing companys or big law firms. It’s really common in those businesses to delegate employees for some months or some years – and then probably follows the next delegation to another country – you get the problem? 🙂

    I think my whole point here (besides consumer protection) is:
    If forces of market are supposed to work, the market should be free – which in this case is not. I understand your point (Some company could just enter this market, with another device), but in my opinion you have to include the developer adoption barrier into this calculation. If you add consumer rights to this formula you should definitly end up with: Someone should force Apple to offer the device officially unlocked. It will be beneficial for the whole market.

    If you take the cellular providers into account it’s even necessary, since there is no power of markets with iPhone cellular contracts – the exclusive carriers just set prices for their contracts. Thats bad – even in capitalism 😉

  3. Tim Rueb says:

    @crippledtechnology – in this case the market is free. The manufacturer has the right to destroy it’s ability to increase market share with bone-headed policies. No one is forced to purchase the product.

    A free market is not openness. A free markets is not government intrusion. A free market is a consumer, developer, retailer making decisions with their wallets and not expecting someone else to fix their problems because they don’t like the way a manufacturer brings it’s product to market.

    Don’t buy iPhones. They will change their policies.

  4. crippledtechnology says:

    Every economist would probably disagree, and every (hopefully) most lawyers, too.
    Sometimes goverment has to shift power from one party to another in order to distribute power equally over the involved parties. With your arguments no country in the world would need special laws to protect employees or renters. But since employees are the weak party in a contract of employment, we need special laws/rights to protect them.

    But consumers still have the power of choice – praise Europe:

  5. Tim Rueb says:

    @crippledtechnology – Only the socialist and communist economists would disagree. A free market economist would see your tactic or approach as an artificial manipulation of either price or at best limited resources which will have unintended consequences in growth or other technologies.

    Right now their are new devices coming on the market that rival iPhone. Don’t think the $599 to $199 swing was out of the goodness of their hearts. Right now, they are considering other changes, which may include app openness and contract openness. And non of it was due to some illusion of equally distributed power.

    The answer remains: Don’t by iPhones. Don’t develop for iPhones. Apple would change.

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