France Telecom is not in a good place right now. Imagine the time, negotiations and bags of money resources it took to score iPhone 3G exclusivity on Orange for a five-year term all to see things evaporate thanks to the scrappy Bouygues Telecom. Appealing to the Competition Council, Bouygues contested that this exclusivity agreement seriously undermined competition in the mobile space due to the excessive length of the agreement. Despite obvious opposition from both France Telecom and Apple, the Competition Council concurred and decided in December to cap such exclusive agreements at a substantially abbreviated three months. Body blow! Needless to say, FT and Apple went right to work fighting the decision but an appeals court ruled today that the decision would be upheld. Upper cut! Apple and FT plan to take their appeal to Cour de Cassation, France’s Supreme Court, while Apple slyly plays both sides by undertaking negotiations with Bouygues to offer the iPhone 3G on its network. T.K.O. Apple stands to benefit either way of course and as such, the company appears to be fairly brazen in its handling of the situation. FT on the other hand, has everything to lose – including a healthy portion of its customer base on Orange. Bouygues, currently the number three operator in the French region, would undoubtedly couple iPhone availability with some incredibly attractive rates to lure customers away. Hmm. We have to wonder what AT&T’s 2008 would have looked like with the iPhone on multiple US carriers…

[Via AppleInsider]

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Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.