iPhone: Europe isn't going to be a piece of cake

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The european launch of Apple's iPhone looks difficult if I believe the iPhone Europe status report from MacWorld UK, as well as VNU Net's report about EU operators bemoaning Apple's iPhone arrogance (well, on that one, it's not as if they didn't know what arrogance is, it's a battle of sharks :D).

I do hope that we'll be able to buy it unlocked, so we can swap our own SIM card in and not worry about changing operator. Or, at a very minimum in France, that they'll strike a deal with the two major operators — SFR and Orange (I don't believe Bouygues Telecom and its clients, very small share and hooked on iMode, are an interesting target for this phone) — otherwise I don't predict a big success in a market where competition is fierce among both mobile operators and manufacturers and which is widely different from what Americans are used to. In fact, the American mobile phone market is often rated as "third world" compared to Europe's (I've heard it from many American friends), so it's clear that Apple will have far less merits in succeeding in the US than in Europe. It's easy to make a big impression when the bar is so low.

I bet the smartphone landscape will be very interesting to watch in a quarter, especially offers from Nokia and Sony Ericsson. I also bet that Apple will (sooner rather than later, I hope) come out with a 3G version, or a version 2 that's more competitive/interesting for Europe than its present US-only incarnation.