A week before the scheduled Nov. 9 release of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone in the U.K., the Daily Telegraph has published a long interview with Matthew Key, the O2 UK chief executive who negotiated the deal with Steve Jobs. The story offers an interesting perspective on the iPhone, Apple, and its CEO as seen through the eyes of a English businessman.
According to Key, it started with an early morning call on a wet Saturday morning from his boss, Peter Erskine.
Key showed up at Apple headquarters that Tuesday morning with two executives from Telefonica, O2’s Spanish owner. They were ushered into Jobs’ office. He was wearing his trademark jeans, black top, and trainers.
Apple’s representatives hammered out the deal with Key’s team in Slough the following Saturday ”over Marks & Spencer’s sandwiches.” Key disputes as “rubbish” reports that O2 struck what one competitor called a “madly money-losing deal,” signing over to Cupertino as much as 40% of monthly revenues. “”It’s sour grapes,” he said. “We don’t sign bad deals.” He did not offer any contract details, but said he was confident O2 would make money over the life of the contract, during which he expects 3/4 of British iPhone customers to come from rival networks.
One last, telling detail from Dominick White’s Telegraph piece: