August 19, 2007

Okay AT&T, No iPhone For Me, Either

AT&T will handicap the BlackBerry 8820 so it doesn't compete with the iPhone. That's pretty obnoxious.

Hard to say if Apple made the original call, but AT&T has forced RIM to disable GPS functionality on their upcoming release. So if you want the new BlackBerry, don't get it through AT&T. If you have that choice.

AT&T's other odious recent behavior includes censoring political content from a Pearl Jam concert. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps talked recently in this context about the importance of net neutrality, or treating the internet like a telecommunications service with built-in consumer protection.

Here's the thing: AT&T doesn't give a damn about their customers. They don't give a damn about whether or not you can use the phone that best suits you, or have access to free speech, or if they government uses them to illegally wiretap their customers. They. Just. Don't. Care. Not even a little bit.

They're too big for their customers to challenge them individually. They're too big for even one of their major vendors to challenge them. There are areas of the country where they've got a near lock on service. In order not to pay highway robbery prices for decent equipment, you've also got to lock in a 2 year service agreement with them.

Now, think of all the other big companies out there that are exactly like AT&T, petty, greedy tyrants with absolute power over some little corner of your life that you just have to bend over and put up with.

These same companies, through their lobbyists, bought politicians, and wholesale purchase of the Republican Party have been telling anyone who'll listen that the biggest threat to a free market is the government. The people we hire to represent us when we cast our ballots in an election, and that we can at the least fire at the next election. But what is so dang free about AT&T customers having to put up with an artificially incapacitated BlackBerry? What's so free about their locking up the iPhone so you can only use it with their service? What's so free about the fact that if you have a problem with the way they handle their contracts, you have to take it to corporate-friendly arbitration instead of being able to take it to court?

Can anyone tell me what is so utopian about AT&T's latitude to screw over whoever the hell they want to without check? Want to explain how it's good for customers, commerce, free choice or the American way? How this is the best outcome?

Corporations like AT&T have consistently proven, time and again, that they absolutely can't be trusted to act in the common good. Yet they tell us that they're the best managers of common resources, like our communications bandwidth and infrastructure. The best. Yet they routinely leave smaller communities behind, and lie in order to maximize profits without having to provide better services or invest more significantly in infrastructure.

These are the bozos that conservatives and libertarians believe can, always and by definition, make better decisions for society than our elected government can? Or at least they'd like us to think they believe that. Personally, I doubt they're that stupid, they just seem to also believe they'll be invited aboard the in-crowd's gravy train. And isn't that just the very best example of how to love your neighbor, ever?

Posted by natasha at August 19, 2007 11:24 PM | Technology | Technorati links |

Actually, for the sake of accuracy, most corporations don't say they're the best at handling everything....only that they are the most efficient at generating return on investment.

It's the nimrods who want to suckle at their teats and who get the airtime to do so (and yes, they do accomplish both on-air) that state how wonderful the corporate world is, how all-knowing, all-wise.

The problem is that corporations, like government or any group of people gathered together for a purpose, are only as good as their willingness to accomplish a set of goals. The Wall Street Journal, of all places, has shown time and again quite thoroughly in their news reporting (at least until Murdoch takes over) that pettiness, short-sightedness and short-term greed dominate the world of business as much as in any other organization.

In the case of cell phone service, like that of pretty much everything in the arena of telecommunications today, we are woefully behind Europe and Japan, and it's in large part because, first, we seem to think only oligarchies and enforced local monopolies will work "for the time being," and second, because we let them.

It's time to stop letting them.

Posted by: palamedes at August 20, 2007 08:15 AM

We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

Posted by: rob at August 20, 2007 09:23 AM

This use company had Ok service and had used it cellular sevice from day 1. The day SBC (Texans) took control it was on the way down. There is no service and Yes they could care less what the costumer thinks.

Posted by: jo6pac at August 20, 2007 03:47 PM

And I dumped AT&T a couple of years ago after a 30+ year business association. They now charge even if you make no calls.

So buh-bye, useless company! May everyone drop you flat!

Posted by: Scorpio at August 21, 2007 11:11 AM

While no fan of SBC or of at&t, here's why I selected them for our broadband service - their workforce, as opposed to Time-Warner's, is mostly union. What can a liberal progressive do?

Posted by: darms at August 21, 2007 05:56 PM

While no fan of SBC or of at&t, here's why I selected them for our broadband service - their workforce, as opposed to Time-Warner's, is mostly union. What can a liberal progressive do?

Posted by: darms at August 21, 2007 05:57 PM