Zdnet is reporting that Apple may have pulled a fast one on At&t with an iPhone built in the form of a Trojan Horse. They claim that Apple has held back the WiFi controls from At&t so that some day down the road, Apple or other developers could use the phone to make WiFi calls from hotspots.
The premise here is that the telcos have been holding back on WiFi with mobile phones since they have not yet found a way to make money from it. They also claim that they have been reducing costs while increase mobile phone bills to consumers. I support both positions myself having worked in the mobile phone industry for several years and working directly with 3 of the largest phone carriers.
Whether or not the iPhone is a trojan horse is a bit of a red herring. It has to be accepted by consumers and it has to work before its trojan potential might be explored. I think that it could be a trojan horse, but that is a game that Microsoft has played in the past and not Apple. (DOS on every IBM computer)
Apple has always worked to be unique and avoid the business model of living off a host. Steve Jobs is that devious, but he's also probably arrogant enough not to want to need another service to leach off of. In my opinion ZDnet doesn't go far enough.
Apple doesn't want to open the door for WiFi service, they want to become a mobile phone carrier. If you notice, activation of these phones can only be performed through iTunes. That means that if you buy the phone in the store, you can't activate it until you get home. You won't even know if Apple accepts your credit until after you buy the phone and install iTunes.
I'm sure Apple set up that system as they did not have the wireless infrastructure to activate phones through the normal cellular processes, not to mention they probably didn't have time to complete the EDI or XML testing of key codes required to activate a normal mobile phone.
At&t must have dropped or ignored every rule and protocol in their book to get the iPhone to market. Playing that loose allowed them to take a big gamble on the iPhone, the question will be if they gambled for a few million more handset sales a year, or if they just gambled their mobile phone service away.
That was the same question the record labels asked themselves a few years ago when iTunes came out. Their nightmares have not become reality yet, but they are definitely bleeding out from other wounds. Maybe Apple has learned enough from that experience to perform a coup d' etat on the wireless industry.
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