Apple slips to #3 spot behind Android, and reveals in-depth details about their five-year contract with AT&T.
Its taken 3 years to get a solid answer but today Apple revealed that it had signed a 5-year exclusivity deal with AT&T in 2007. This has all apparently come to light as court documents in the 3 year old class action against Apple & AT&T have surfaced. Dating back to 2007 a class action lawsuit has been ongoing in California when California resident Timothy Smith filed a suit claiming Apple and AT&T violated California antitrust laws when they locked iPhones to only work on AT&T networks.
Unfortunately since the inception of the contract the AT&T network that supports Apple’s iPhone has been plagued with bandwidth issues, dropped calls and poor customer service. I really like my iTouch, and if I didn’t have to deal with AT&T there’s a pretty good chance I could be convinced to give up my Blackberry Tour in favor of an iPhone, but as long as I have to go with AT&T that’s just not gonna happen.
And unfortunately these issues with AT&T are really beginning to effect Apple’s marketshare. This Monday the research firm NPD Group a report that shows that Google’s Android-based phones have overtaken Apple as the No. 2 spot in US consumer phone usage. RIM’s Blackberry phones retain the top spot with 36% marketshare, with the Android system following at a comfortable distance at 28% marketshare, and Apple’s iPhone trailing behind at 21%. And these numbers just reflect consumer usage and don’t take into account enterprise purchases.
Now, the last thing I’d say is that this spells some sort of doom for Apple, far from it. However it’s very prevalent that iPhone products are being held back by this attachment to AT&T, and frankly AT&T has had more than enough time to get it’s act together and improve their network. Apple should just bite the bullet and do whatever they need to do to break the contract, whatever the outcome I imagine AT&T would fold and then Apple wouldn’t even have to worry about it =D
I definitely love my Blackberry, but I think I love my iTouch more, and I’d love to have a National Broadband enabled iPhone. And I certainly am not going to pay for two broadband plans, so as soon as the iPhone is released from the binds of its AT&T contract, I think my poor Tour will live the rest of it’s live in a drawer.