Now that we know who Deep Throat is, the favored topic of speculation is: who will Apple pick as its carrier partner in Europe for the iPhone? Yesterday The Financial Times Deutscheland put its oar in the rumor stream, citing "people familiar with the matter" as saying that Apple will choose not one but three carrier partners -- T-Mobile in Germany, Orange France in that country, and O2 in the U.K. Alas, a person even more familiar with the matter, Orange executive director Louis-Pierre Wenes, already has issued a denial.Vodafone also is still in the mix, according to published reports. The choice of virtually all of the Continent's major operators (what, no Telekom Srbija?) is a departure from what most analysts figured would be Apple's single Euro-carrier strategy to match its deal with AT&T in the U.S. The success of the iPhone on these shores, however, has undoubtedly given Apple increased leverage across the pond, with telco managing directors lining up to kiss Steve Jobs' ring.
In fact, the FT also reports that the operator deals also will include a 10% revenue share with Apple on all services over the device -- which, the intrepid Michelle Donegan of Unstrung notes, "would be the first time a mobile operator shares service revenues with a device manufacturer." We've been writing for some time about the potential of the iPhone and other sleek new handsets emerging this year to break up the logjam of carrier dominance, and this would be further evidence.
Here's hoping the FT report, at least on the 10% cut for Apple, is true -- and that rival handset manufacturers manage to strike similar deals in the coming months.