Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cingular an "unpopular distribution partner"...NOT

In his wide-ranging attack on Steve Jobs in today's WSJ Op-Ed article ("iGenius" - $$), Michael Malone hits Cingular with an unwarranted stray shot.

Malone claims that, among Jobs' many mistakes on the iPhone is the selection of Cingular as an "unpopular distribution partner." Which struck me as odd. Unpopular by what measure, and compared to whom? Cingular has the largest subscriber base, a churn rate that is approaching the industry's best (Verizon), and continues to grow at the expense, primarily, of Sprint.

In my opinion, Cingular is stealing a march on Verizon (who I suppose would be Malone's version of a "popular distribution partner"--unless he means Sprint or T-Mobile) in the smartphone market. In addition to the iPhone exclusive, they offer the Samsung Blackjack and the Blackberry Pearl (UPDATE: I forgot the very cool Sony Ericsson Walkman phones), and Verizon doesn't.

Also, Cingular is GSM, meaning the iPhone can be more easily adapted for sale around the world (where GSM is predominant). That's proving to be an advantage to Cingular too.

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