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Endgadget has pulled the wool off of some old court documents that are alluding to the fact that Apple and AT&T hammered out a five-year deal for the iPhone in 2007, according to 9to5 Mac.
USA Today had originally reported on the agreement, but there has been a lot of changes that have not been confirmed since then. According to the court documents:
"The duration of the exclusive Apple-[AT&T] agreement was not 'secret' either. The [plaintiff] quotes a May 21, 2007 USA Today article - published over a month before the iPhone's release - stating, "AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years-an eternity in the go-go cellphone world."
"[T]here was widespread disclosure of [AT&T's] five year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years… Moreover, it is sheer speculation - and illogical - that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power…"
AppleInsider is also reporting that USA Today said that back in 2007, Verizon had passed on a similar deal.
Nilay Patel said that while the original deal would mean that Apple's iPhone could not become a part of another carrier until 2012, "the real question is whether or not the exclusivity deal is still on the books."
"Contracts can be canceled, amended, and breached in many ways, and AT&T's spotty recent service history plus the explosion of the iPhone and the mobile market in general have given Apple any number of reasons to revisit the deal," Patel writes. "In addition, the two companies obviously hit the negotiating table again to hammer out the iPad's pricing plans, and there's no way of knowing whether that deal involves the iPhone as well."
As was mentioned last week, it was being speculated that Apple and AT&T re-upped their current deal another six months, so that AT&T could retain exclusive access on the iPhone, and Apple would get no-contract $30-per-month data plans for the iPad.
Image courtesy of iphonespies.com