TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone

Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 27 Mar 2005 23:08:28 -0500

By Roger O. Crockett

Cellular carriers such as Verizon and Cingular are hesitant to sell
the Apple-Motorola gizmo. Here's why:

It seemed like a sure thing: the iPod mobile phone. What could be more
irresistible than a device combining the digital-music prowess of
Apple Computer (AAPL ) with the wireless expertise of Motorola (MOT )?
Motorola sent its buzz machinery into overdrive in January when it
leaked word that the product would debut at a cellular-industry
conference in New Orleans in mid-March.

Well, hold the phone. At the New Orleans confab, a frustrated Edward
Zander, Motorola's chief executive, stood before a roomful of analysts
and reporters and said the handset's debut would have to wait.

Why? Zander said Motorola and Apple want to hold off until the phone
is closer to hitting store shelves. But three industry sources say a
lack of support from such giant cellular operators as Verizon Wireless
and Cingular Wireless was instrumental in delaying the unveiling. So
far, the wireless companies are reluctant to promote the
Motorola-Apple phone.

Behind the clash are two very different views of the future of music
on mobile phones. Motorola and Apple would let customers put any
digital tune they already own on their phones for free. That would
help Motorola sell more phones, and it would help Apple expand its
dominance of digital music.

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