Carriers Snub “iTunes” Phone

(Note: This item combines news and commentary.)

Verizon and Sprint have both announced that they aren’t planning to carry the “iTunes” phone jointly developed by Motorola and Apple. At first, that might sound like good news, with carriers snubbing a phone that supports a proprietary system which prevents you from using songs you’ve legitimately purchased on any device capable of playing them. However, the reason that the companies have made the choice is that they both intend to bring out their own (likely just as proprietary) music services. Supporting the iTunes phones would cut them out of the revenue stream. Unfortunately, this appears to be yet another case of cellular providers concentrating on short-term profit enhancement at a long term cost to their customers. The result will be yet two more incompatible music services.

An earlier post noted that customers have been slow to embrace cellular data services, most likely due to the cost. The cost of having to double-purchase music tracks for use on your cell phone will likely drive customers away from these music provision “services” as well. Thus, by concentrating on the short term bottom line, cellular companies are likely hurting their long term profits. It took years for Internet Service Providers to figure out that unlimited service was actually more profitable to them. Let’s hope the cellular carriers are a bit more quick on the pick-up.

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Russ Smith