“iPhone makes for worldwide loss” reads the headline in Sunday’s Guardian, whose editors apparently missed the flurry of similar pieces that appeared three weeks earlier.
“Telcom operators hurt selling iPhones” was how Reuters handled the story, back on Aug. 17. “Who’s screwing who? (sic)” asked Shanzai.com the next day. And from ITWire.com: “iPhone — The Paris Hilton of mobile phones?”
That last one actually dates from Dec. 5, 2008, when the newsletter from Strand Consult that coined the Paris Hilton metaphor first appeared.
In fact, all the iPhone-is-bad-for-carriers stories that have turned up in the trade press since the third week of August — and we counted at least a half-dozen — stemmed from the same nine-month old Strand press release: “iPhone – an operators worst friend.”
The money quote in that provocative report, picked up by every reporter who stumbled across it this year and last:
Does Strand, the Danish CEO of Strand Consult, know something that the carriers who are fighting to get their hands on the iPhone — or desperately trying to hold on to their exclusivity deals with Apple (AAPL) — don’t?
Before we meet Mr. Strand, let’s take a look at what some of the carriers are saying. From AT&T’s (T) Q2 earnings call:
AT&T has made similar comments every quarter since the iPhone launched. And AT&T is not alone. O2 told the Guardian that, overall, it has benefited from the iPhone. And on Monday Reuters reported that Softbank — Japan’s No. 3 carrier and the iPhone’s exclusive carrier there — once again passed No. 1 DoCoMo in the number of new subscribers signed up in August.
We don’t pretend to have the expertise of John Strand — who has been covering the industry for 14 years and has, as you are about to hear, never made a mistake — but we wonder whether carriers might make more money in the long run from getting and holding new subscribers than they make from iPhone sales.
Anyway, here’s Strand in his own words, speaking to a reporter from Mobile Industry Review outside the Nokia booth at February’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. He’s got an unique take on the App Store (there’s nothing new there, he says) and he can’t resist using that Paris Hilton line one more time.
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UPDATE: We have obtained, courtesy of John Strand, “The moment of truth: a portrait of the iPhone,” the 105-page statement of his views on the iPhone that he released on Aug. 17. Like his 2008 press release, it features a list of 10 points, in this case the 10 largest myths about the iPhone:
To obtain your free copy of Strand’s report, click