AT&T May Have iPhone Exclusivity Until 2012

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The story goes something like this. Back in 2007, USA Today published an article that said, “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years” concerning the iPhone. That information proved to be difficult to officially verify and since the first iPhone hit the market, it seems that we’ve been hearing rumor after rumor that Verizon would get a CDMA version of the handset even though the supposed AT&T deal would make that impossible.

Now Engadget has apparently dug up old court documents from 2007 that detail the agreement between AT&T and Apple and, yes, it’s a five-year deal. That would mean that assuming nothing has changed, the end of the world may come before (or shortly after) Verizon sees its own iPhone.

And while it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Apple and AT&T may have changed the terms of the agreement between 2007 and today, it certainly wouldn’t have been AT&T’s idea and it’d be nearly impossible to get that information out of Apple unless one of its employees accidentally leaves the agreement in a bar somewhere.

When contacted for comment, AT&T’s response was pretty typical: “We have a great relationship with Apple. We don’t comment on the specifics of our relationship.” Are they just friends? More than friends? Who is Apple going to ask to the prom? The suspense is killing me!

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