Apple moving back to the ranks?

A Fortune blog cited by MacWorld claims that Apple will authorize mobile network operators to subsidize the iPhone, and move away from their strategy of a launch with a unique, exclusive operator.

IMHO (I told you so ;-), Apple is simply forced by its sales numbers to recognize that the GSM markets out there don't work at all like the American ones. GSM is, to be polite, poorly developed in the U.S. and there's is only one GSM operator in Canada (Rogers, who's at last got to terms with Apple to carry the iPhone). In Europe, exclusive deals with operators are the exception for devices such as the iPhone, and they are significantly subsidized to lower their acquisition price (many comparable high-end smartphones are way more expensive than the iPhone when not subsidized).

So, at last, I may be able to get an iPhone with my preferred operator rather than being forced to forget about it (since the Orange network is crappy at my place, not speaking of their uninteresting plans and prices).