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Apple, Google in cahoots?

Speculation arose earlier this week that Apple was so fed up with wireless carriers in general — AT&T specifically — that it would enter its own bid in the 700 MHz auction. This unfounded rumor was quickly put to rest by the invocation of simple logic. If Apple profits so handsomely from their hardware sales, why would they make this foray into a completely unknown (to them) industry? As Mike Dano of RCR Wireless News might say: Would you want to get a haircut from Apple? But maybe this is all a little of what magicians would call misdirection.

Google, as we know, is planning a spectrum bid. As time wears on, it appears less and less that this will be a token bid and more and more that it will be a legitimate one, with the only goal being to start the nation’s fifth major wireless carrier — sixth if you count Alltel, seventh if Leap and MetroPCS merge.

We’re actually disappointed in ourselves that we didn’t remember this when the Apple story first ran: Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on Apple’s board of directors. Ah, so now we’re starting to see the connection. Apple is fed up with wireless companies; Google wants to enter this arena. Together, they just might win it.

The reserve bid on the open-acess portion of the spectrum is set at $4.6 billion. Both Google and Apple could do this alone, as they sit on “gobs” of cash (it seems every analyst is using that word now, gob). However, if Google is the main bidder and has financial backing from Apple and a couple of other companies, their chance of winning the spectrum is far greater. After all, the rules don’t exactly favor the big telecoms.

The only further question we have is: what about the GPhone? Would it and the iPhone be able to co-exist on the same network? Well, we suppose that question is kind of moot, since the iPhone has an exclusive deal with AT&T for the next billiondy years. But we wonder if there isn’t a loophole in the contract that would allow Apple to use its own device on its own network. We’d consider Apple that savvy, and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson that oafish.

[Wired]

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