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China Mobile indicates progress in iPhone talks

updated 06:05 pm EST, Tue November 18, 2008

iPhone China negotiations

The negotiations between Apple and China Mobile are progressing toward an iPhone launch in the 600 million subscriber country, according to MarketWatch. Although non-disclosure agreements prohibited the carrier's chairman and chief executive, Wang Jianzhou, from providing any details or confirmation, he did speak highly of the American phone manufacturer, saying it was "very, very, successful" with the iPhone and App Store. "All I can say is that China is still interested in [bringing the] iPhone into China Mobile markets," he added.

Talks between the two companies have taken longer than even Steve Jobs anticipated. Jobs commented before the 3G launch that there would likely be announcements for Russia and China before the end of the year. Russia has had iPhones since October, while there has been no public confirmation of a launch in China.

Apple job listings have indicated that the company is still working to expand its products into the Asian country. Two iPhone Quality Engineer employees were sought, with one position offered in Shanghai last year and the most recent listing for Beijing that described the duty to "focus on international releases of our iPhone and iPod touch products."

Rumors suggested that hardware issues halted progress, possibly leading to a China-specific device that would lack 3G and Wi-Fi. Neither company has confirmed the report. The more likely hurdle was revenue sharing disagreements, with China Mobile reportedly unwilling to accept a profit sharing program with the device manufacturer. Apple may have backed down from their demand as a necessary compromise to push the iPhone into one of the world's largest mobile markets.

by MacNN Staff




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