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How to Be a Useless Company: ATT and iPhones (with irony and a request)

I don’t buy Apple products. I was just starting to change my mind but Apple has managed to annoy me yet again. I wanted an iPhone. My brother noted that and thought he was getting me a gift card for the iPhone. But wait, I am an ATT customer for ten, yes ten, years. Through the Cingular back to ATT shift I have stayed with the service. My reward? I cannot get the new customer prices until March 19, 2009 when I am allowed to upgrade. (ATT business meeting: Eureka! Force delayed spending in a down market where people have many reasons not to spend! That’s a great idea!) If they said you can upgrade with the blasted two year contract and get the iPhone right now at the new customer price, would I do it? YES! When the time comes to upgrade and maybe shift cell service will I consider it? YES, YES, YES!!!!

Let’s talk goodwill. For the sake of a stupid business model, ATT and Apple have decided to annoy longtime, loyal customers. Now the iPhone is pretty cool. Is it cool enough that I would not consider a Blackberry? After the lame service, of course I would consider the Blackberry. In fact, I am considering switching cell companies just to demonstrate how lame ATT is. HEY APPLE! Get a clue. Exclusive partnerships are obviously working at one level, but ATT is silly. Their choice of cutting off old customers and thwarting their attempt to embrace Apple products is downright idiotic and makes people think less of Apple. In other words, how is it wise to prevent an alleged 72.9 million people (ATT’s claimed current customer base) from the better price? Sure Apple has had big sales, but it is still behind Nokia and RiM in a shrinking smartphone market. In hard numbers Apple sold 4.7 million units. Now if ATT is accurate about its customer numbers, one has to wonder whether letting customers upgrade phones and enter new contracts in mid-contract might be wise. I freely admit that ATT must have some double secret probation protected theory about its system that I, unfrozen caveman lawyer, fail to grasp.

The irony is there may be many of us who erroneously wanted the iPhone but can’t get it at a price that makes sense. And, as I looked around for options, I find that Blackberry has many useful features and maybe most of the services that I want. Who knows? Google’s nascent phone empire may offer more too.

So here is the request: Please share advice on what is the best phone for email, music, and Internet use? In addition, ideas for the best cell service are welcome too. See what happens when companies deny a customer from obtaining on impulse? The rational buyer returns and finds better options. Hmm maybe I should say thanks Apple and ATT.