AT&T Exec Seeks MacBook Deal with Apple

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An AT&T executive has hinted that his company would like to work out some kind of deal with Apple over a subsidized MacBook or other laptop tied to a data plan from the cell carrier.  In an interview with Fortune magazine, Glen Lurie told the magazine that he had recently met with Apple COO Tim Cook, though he was mum on the specifics of those talks.

In recent months, AT&T has begun promotions wherein the company works with PC manufacturers to offer netbook computers for as low as $99 provided the customer signs up for a two-year data plan with the wireless carrier. The cell carrier thinks that other digital devices beyond cell phones could be the key to expanding its customer base, and has tasked Mr. Lurie, who hashed out the original iPhone deal with Apple, with bringing more of those devices to AT&T.

Of course, Apple has yet to offer a netbook computer, making a paring between the two on something other than an iPhone less obvious. Fortune's John Fortt, however, asked Mr. Lurie if AT&T would ever offer a subsidized MacBook with a data plan.

Mr. Lurie played coy with his answer, and after pointing out that he had recently met with  Apple COO Tim Cook, said, "We're having conversations with lots of folks. I would very much like to do more business with Apple, and hope that we do."

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Sounds like they’re trying to get some sort of discount from Apple because there’s nothing stopping them from offering rebates or discounts now.

Here in Canada such schemes have been around for years. Currently Telus will provide you with a Sony Vaio and wireless router if you agree to a minimum 3 year service contract. For a while they were providing a $400 rebate on any computer you bought at Future Shop, PC or Mac, if you signed a 3 year contract.


I keep hoping the exclusive deal with ATT will fall apart. I bought two iPhones 13 months ago, relying on the accuracy of ATT’s coverage map, which placed my house inside their best coverage area. Can’t even pick up a signal AT ALL. Jumped from a Verizon Treo to do it and absolutely love the iPhone, anywhere but home.

So, no thanks on the subsidized Macbook + AT&T commitment (unless they put a cell tower up around my home in Coulee Dam, WA, hint, hint).


Apple being Apple will want to be in the driver’s seat on this one.  the external USB wireless adapters are ugly and clunky, and I don’t think apple would want to promote a deal where you stick an ugly stick of plastic in their sexy chasis.  If this happens, the wireless adapter will be built in like in some Vaio laptops?which more-or-less means you’ll have to be tied to a carrier.  I’m surprised that apple hasn’t yet done this with the air, but it’s hard to see how it would tie into their other laptop lines.
Additionally, as consumers we’re probably better off if the cell carriers charge a little less for service and let us users buy the hardware we want and replace it when we want.


I agree that consumer are better off not entering into a long term contract with a cell carrier and buy the computer/devise when they want.  For cell phone service I want the cheapest one possible.

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