Dont expect to see AT&T pass on exclusive device agreements in the future, even if the much-ballyhooed Verizon iPhone becomes a reality early in 2011. AT&T gadget guru Glenn Lurie said in an interview in Barcelona this week that exclusive partnerships are still critical for carriers.
I dont think the era has gone at all; I believe that exclusive relationships drive innovation,” Lurie said, according to Bloomberg. In my space, Im definitely still cutting deals that are exclusive.”
Lurie added that his companys relationship with Apple is solid citing the three-and-a-half-year team-up with the computer giant for the iPhone. And even though you can buy an iPad from Verizon Wireless, AT&T is the only carriers network to which you can directly connect using the tablet. Lurie wouldnt comment on the Verizon iPhone rumors.
Delivering a subtle jab at Verizon, Bloomberg quotes Lurie as saying, when you know its just you two talking and theyre not going to be in your competitors office the next day, you can get very deep into how youre going to deliver a better product.”
Because of that relationship, dont expect to see a whole slew of tablet computers available for sale from AT&T. Lurie says the carrier will be respectful of its relationship with Apple and not bombard customers with options. The iPad rules the market thus far, with 95 percent share. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is expected to be the first to challenge it. AT&T will start carrying the Tab on Nov. 21.