German iPhone sales in trouble (and 27signs)

Heir ist das IT Blogwatch: in which a German court blocks iPhone sales, or perhaps not. Not to mention some very strange, very funny signs...

Stefan Mechnig reports from Germany:

The German unit of Vodafone ... has obtained a restraining order against ... T-Mobile ... prohibiting the German telecommunications giant from selling Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone in Germany ... Vodafone is questioning the iPhone's exclusive use in T-Mobile's network and the use of the device being limited to certain fees within T- Mobile's subscription offerings. Vodafone isn't generally opposed to T-Mobile's exclusivity contract with Apple, but wants to have these new sales practices examined. [more]
Andrew Orlowski adds:
T-Mobile is Apple's exclusive carrier partner in Europe's biggest market ... Vodafone's lawsuit is a significant challenge to Apple's go-to-market strategy ... Steve Jobs shouldn't take it personally, though. Network operators fight a constant battle to keep handset manufacturers with "cool" brands from setting the pace and negotiating a better price ... Reader Lars in Germany writes that the iPhone is still being sold in the T-Mobile shops and online. [more]
Here's Seth Weintraub, blogging from la belle France:
I certainly don't pretend to understand all of the rules and regulations that go on here. However, T-Mobile apparantly is doing something wrong in the way it sells plans for the iPhone ... The French iPhone that will be sold on Orange's network and also unlocked is slated to go on sale next week. It is not clear whether it is a German Law or EU Law breaking that is being questioned. [more]
John Biggs mocks:
So that’s how they do business over in Germany ... Clearly these “new” sales practices — namely carrier exclusivity — don’t translate well into what appears to be Germany’s medieval “telephonic device anti-exclusivity laws” which were ratified in 1208 by King Enninetyfivus of Duberford. Seriously. Is this for real? ... Apparently all phones come unlocked in Germany ... So maybe Vodafone does have a point, but not a very strong one. [more]
Carl Howe:
From the "If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em" department ... But we in America shouldn't assume that T-Mobile has a slam dunk defense either. Europe has fair-competition laws that are designed to allow consumers choice ... in any case, we'll be seeing unlocked iPhones in France in two weeks because of a French law requiring carriers to offer unlocked as well as locked phones. You have to admit, it's an interesting development. [more]
SubliminalLove explains:
In Germany, this sort of exclusive contract does not exist -- you can get certain deals that are bound to your keeping a phone with a particular carrier ... but there's no such thing here as a phone that won't work on a competitor's network. Vodafone is asking a judge in Hamburg to rule on the legality of the exclusive service contract, but they are not preventing the sale of the device itself. [more]
BlueParrot, too:
Many European countries, and indeed the EU itself has very strict laws with regards to what restrictions you may and may not place on consumers. If a company follows these rules and a competitor is allowed to violate them without the authorities taking action, then I could very much understand that they feel pissed. It is not as much a matter about whether these laws are sensible or not, as it is a matter of them being equal for everyone. [more]
To which, PopeRatzo exclaims:
What a backward place! Here in the U$A, we have our priorities straight and we know that we all work for the corporations. There's none of this sissy "consumer rights" stuff. [more]
And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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