I want an iPhone. I am not a vacuous follower of fashion - or Steve Jobs - I just want a phone that doubles as a mini-computer when I am working away from home and that talks the same language as my other computers because it's made by the same people. I want an iPhone because it has a virtual keyboard with keys in the QWERTY order as opposed to the AZERTY order of French computers and mobile phones. It may seem a petty detail, but I touch type and AZERTY keyboards drive me to writing drivel and strong drink. The sales assistant at my phone company said the iPhone available in France came with an AZERTY touch sensitive keyboard but could be changed to an QWERTY. He could not guarantee any other phone would do this saying he'd never been asked. Failing this guarantee, I want an iPhone.
In December the French courts ruled that Apple's iPhone exclusive deal with just one French mobile telephone company was against the country's competition laws. The ruling opened the market to all phone companies. There was an appeal against the decision but it was upheld in January.
I am pretty sure that had this happened in Britain the rival mobile telephone companies would have had a stock of iPhones ready to supply to customers who wanted one; if not in December, then certainly when the appeal was decided.
Here in France I am still waiting for an iPhone. The telephone company's website says it'll be available on April 8. The local shop says "sometime" in April. To my astonishment my mobile telephone company even suggested I could go and buy one from a rival operator and it would reimburse nearly all the cost. Of course nobody would put this in writing. When I declined the offer she told me: "Our iPhone will be much more expensive." Not exactly hard selling.
Now some Internet commentators are wondering why France's phone companies have been so slow to stock the iPhones and the conspiracists whether there is any collusion going on. I don't know, I just want an iPhone. I went to my phone shop: "Are you sure you'll have one in April?" I asked the assistant. He shrugged: "Are you sure you want one?" I said: "Errr, yes. Can I reserve one now?" He shrugged: "No." "How much will it be?" He shrugged. "Don't know. You'll have to wait and see."
Collusion? Conspiracy Theory? Or just Crap Service? I don't know, I really don't.