Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella
While on the surface it may sound similar, Apple's relationship with AT&T is quite different.
Many people left their current carrier and switched to AT&T so they could get an iPhone.
No one is switching to the iPod so they can watch NBC content on the go.
Sure the scale is very different, but the principle is the same. Are you 'sure' not a single ipod owner bought an ipod just so they could watch their favorite show on their work/school commute? In the long run, Apple needs the movie/music industry just as much as the industry need a distribution network. If ripping cds for some reason was made illegal, and the content producers stopped working with Apple and partnered with someone else(e.g microsoft), apple would bend over backwards to get them on board again, and that would include giving them a cut of the hardware sales. Apple is just not willing to go along with this at the moment because they have the most successful platform for digital distribution and loosing NBC is probably a lot cheaper than opening the gates for paying hardware revenues to the content creators.
AT&T just sells the customer the phone - no sign up - no technical support
Apple handles the sign up, technical support, advertising, etc.
NBC gives Apple digitized files, Apple does pretty much everything else and sends them a check.
Who maintains AT&T's huge and expensive GSM infrastructure? Who paid for the gsm spectrum lisence? Sign up and technical support are relative minor costs when running a teleco company, surely nothing close to the $600/user Apple is earning atm.
I'm in no way against the at&t/apple deal, great that apple found a partner willing to go along with their terms - I'm sure at&t also makes good money from this partnership. There is however no reason to think apples deals on the iphone are any better/worse than what the music industry wants wants in regards to the ipod.