AT&T iPhone exclusivity to last through 2012, confirmed in court

Finally there is a faint glimmer of hope that all the chatter of a Verizon iPhone will end. Because a CDMA iPhone has been spotted? No, because Apple has argued in court that their exclusive deal  with AT&T was for five years.

Engadget has been following the arguments in a class action suit against Apple regarding exclusivity and dug up these tidbits.

“The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not ‘secret’ either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article – published over a month before the iPhone’s release – stating, “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world.”

“[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T’s] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years… Moreover, it is sheer speculation – and illogical – that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power…”

There you go people. Five year deal signed in 2007 means there are two more years of iPhone exclusivity for AT&T. So if you’ve been holding out for the mythic Verizon iPhone, your wait continues. You can either have a great or even better phone on Verizon, or you can switch to AT&T for the iPhone. Unfortunately for Verizon, a lot of people are opting to switch.

Just to be clear, I’m not happy the deal is officially set to last through 2012; I’m just happy we can stop giving credibility to those rumors of Verizon getting the iPhone. Those rumors never made sense to me, primarily because they were never backed by anything. If they served any purpose, it was to keep Verizon’s stock price up and keep customers from leaving. I can only hope this revelation silences that noise for the next year (but I doubt it).