My new column takes a look at the Senate calling on the FCC to investigate cell phone exclusivity deals like AT&T’s iPhone arrangement. Excerpt:
The FCC will have a tough time proving that exclusive agreements are detrimental to the buying public.
For starters, the iPhone model that debuted 24 months ago at $599 now costs $99. Apple priced its latest, new and improved iPhone 3GS offerings at $199 and $299. That’s pricing from a company well-aware it is competing with others.
The iPhone certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on the smartphone market. While it is exclusive to AT&T, it is just one of a number of smartphones that are available to consumers from other service providers. In addition to the new Palm Pre, there’s Research in Motion’s very popular BlackBerry line, and an assortment of highly functional devices from Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola and Google, whose Android operating system, compatible with any wireless system, makes it something of an anti-iPhone.