December 22, 2008, 5:31 PM — When I first started working as an editor, I naively thought that the phrase "our customers" was synonymous with "our readers." But I quickly learned that it could also mean "our advertisers" -- and since this was the Internet, those were the only paying customers we had.
I was reminded of this while reading this broadside from Strand Consult, describing all the reasons why a mobile carrier might get a bum deal by inking an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone. The iPhone market isn't as simple as Apple cheerfully selling its shiny, pricey device to the slavering hordes and making mad bank in the process -- they have to keep mobile operators happy as well. While any number of Strand's specific points are debatable -- I find it particularly unlikely that non-iPhone using customers will feel "neglected" if their carrier picks up Apple's product -- the larger question of Apple-carrier relationships is important. Things are not all rainbows and unicorns between Apple and AT&T, for instance.
Nevertheless, there are still carriers out there who want so badly to sell the iPhone that they're willing to sue for it -- and in France, anyway, it appears to be working.