Cingular execs behaving badly

Cingular execs — from the the “Ha-ha, other carriers!” tone of CEO Stan Sigman’s dreadful keynote speech to the “We bent Apple” comments from president of national distribution Stan Laurie (antler tip to Daring Fireball) — sure are acting like some grade-A dickwads, aren’t they?

The Macalope would advise the “gents from Georgia” that their exclusivity lasts two years and people have long memories.

Apple made a deal of necessity and it brought the sizzle to the table. When you’re just the holder on a winning field goal, you should probably not do a big end-zone dance.

  • John Muir:

    “Neener neener. Hey, wait, where you taking that iPhone?”

    Beware Cingular, beware. You didn’t know what the phone looked like until the 59th minute of the 11th hour, and I don’t imagine Steve will give you a heads up on subsequent models which may well not fall within the letter of your agreement. 😉

    Besides, the rest of the globe’s contracts are yet to be inked and may well land at AT&T’s foes’ doors. We’ll be sure to look out for that.

  • Jody Chen:


    Maybe someone at Cingular should read your last sentence and post it in the offices of all their executives. They also need a lecture on the dangers of hubris.

    The best part of the iPhone announcement as far as I’m concerned, is the sure knowledge that rival telecoms are falling all over themselves to develop innovative new services (a la Visual Voicemail), as well as more competitive service plans. They’ll have to, just to prevent their customers from defecting en masse to Cingular. Consumers win big time.

    They’ll also be gunning for a deal with Apple when the exclusive contract with Cingular ends, and they’ll have some pretty good stuff to back up their proposals. By reinventing the phone, Apple is also forcing the carriers to reinvent themselves.

  • I use Cingular, more by necessity than choice. I loathe everything about them. Had Apple gone with Verizon, I would have forced a family switch.

  • John Kirk:

    First, it is rude and boorish of Cingular to claim that Apple “bent” to their will at a time when both companies should enjoying the fruits of their collaboration.

    Second, Cingular just doesn’t get it. Who’s in control here? Try this scenario on for size. It’s a couple of years down the line and Apple is able to create a new phone for a new carrier. Are people going to be loyal to Cingular and stay – or are they going to flock to the new phone and the new carrier? Hmmmm, now who’s getting “bent”?

  • Amen, brother Macalope!

    It’s very amusing to watch them gloat, when it’s really Apple who’s handed them everything on a silver platter. Sure, Cingular might’ve contributed the visual voicemail to the mix, but probably only at Apple’s urging. They’re using Cingular like a tool, and simultaneously putting a huge crack in the biggest wireless network’s defenses. It’s not the direct attack many people might’ve hoped for (which Apple could have done by selling the iPhone unlocked), but really a trojan attack from within.

    Selling an iPhone unlocked would have only gone to show Cingular that there’s a few people out there who have $1000 lying around to buy an unlocked, unsubsidized iPhone and use whatever SIM card they want in it. It would’ve been a rather large stab in Cingular’s side, but it would’ve done little to reform them. This way, though, Apple is forcing Cingular – and by result, every other wireless network – to reconsider their practices in order to work with Apple’s user-minded devices. Cingular now has to bow to the consumer just to stay friends with Apple, every other network has to keep up with Cingular by also bowing (as Jody said), and we all benefit because of it.

    And then Apple gets to skip off with whoever they want to – or nobody at all – in two years.

    So enjoy your bent, shallow laughter while you can, my Cingular exec buddies.

  • Alfredo Kraus:

    anti-iPhone campaign. Yes, it is… I think, the author is right. Ugly camera, high price and only Cingular like provider. Is much better to have a phone, camera, PDA and player separately. But it’s my own opinion.

  • steve has toldother people to take and stick themselves in their collective backsides… ican not see him taking comments like this well.

    time will tell…

  • I worked for BellSouth and Cingular before. They suck.

    More insightful is the fact that I saw this attitude from the inside. THe “product people” in both companies sit around and dream up stuff they think people need or, worse yet, site “market research” and expend enormous resources to bring products that nobody wants or likes to the market, then they blame the “implementation”, or the “marketing” for the failure. Or, worst ever: “market conditions”. F*cking deplorable, slimey people all over that place. Ugh.

    Now Apple brings them a product (a phone) plus a little bit of innovation in service (voicemail). But will Cingular continue to innovate w/o Apple? F*ck no! It’s not in the culture at all. Now that it’s AT&T, it’s probably even worse.

  • Blain:

    What I found most interesting is not one word about the Sidekick, which, okay, it’s mediocre as a phone, is very unlike the four smartphones listed. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t have as bad a limitation as the others (2.6″ screen, very good UI, and halfway decent browser) or because of courtesy; Woz is on Danger’s (creator of the sidekick) board.

    I really think Jobs is just giving Cingular enough rope to hang themselves. You’ll only be able to see it at cingular and Apple stores. And given customer support, more and more are going to go to the Apple store, if nothing for the atmosphere. Add in accessories that not only take advantage of the iPod capabilities, but maybe a few iPhone-specific ones. (Forget radio integration. You’ll have music and cell phone integration in the car)

    Not to mention this tidbit here:
    The contract covers “all models” of the iPhone, including several other devices in the works that may be “coming out very quickly,” Lurie said

    We all know how Steve loves to have his products pre-announced by other people, don’t we?

  • Oh the pleasure of watching when His Royal Steveness breaks the news to AT&T that the iPhone is unlocked, because the contract didn’t have a “gloating dickhead” clause.

  • Blain:

    Now that would be a sight to see, although that requires the telcos being drug into the 21st century like the recording industry. They treat unlocked phones like real black sheep. Not impossible, but currently, I’ve heard, that services for unlocked phones are limited to making calls. And things like visual voicemail require changes to the provider’s services.

    To make the iphone work elsewhere, Jobs would have to get the other telcos desperate. First they’d have to standardize on things like visual voicemail. Then, there’s either the 2 year wait, or they’d have to allow unlocked devices.

    That’s even tougher than getting standardizing on $.99 a song.

    Of course, if that happens, things get interesting. 2G or 3G or EDGE or USPO or whatever isn’t the thing to watch for. It’s wifi. In a well-covered area, wifi makes 3G a moot issue. If skype capabilities happen, suddenly the telcos go from being the be-all and end-all of cell phones, to the backup plan for when you’re out of wifi range.

  • HooHa:

    Winning field goal?

    Seems to me the ball is still in the air — WAY too early for dancing …

  • James Bailey:

    Gee, people from Cingular acting like dicks? Wow, I would never have seen that one coming.

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