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Raj Aggarwal Details Jobs' Tenacity in AT&T/Apple Revenue Sharing Deal

originaliphoneSteve Jobs was able to strike an unprecedented revenue sharing deal with AT&T (formerly Cingular) due to his deep involvement with the iPhone, says Raj Aggarwal, a former telecommunications consultant who worked with Jobs on the deal.

In an interview with Forbes, Aggarwal details the history behind the deal, which saw Apple receiving a portion (approximately $10) of the monthly service charges that AT&T collected from each iPhone user. The revenue sharing agreement, which ultimately ended in 2008, allowed AT&T to offer the iPhone exclusively as other carriers, like Verizon, were unwilling to agree to the terms of the deal.

Under the terms, Apple also had control over pricing, branding, and distribution, in addition to getting AT&T to create a number of new features for the phone.
Aggarwal, whose Adventis consulting stint with Jobs occurred in "early 2005," said that Jobs was able to pull off the AT&T deal because of his personal involvement in the details of the iPhone, his efforts to build relationships with carriers, his willingness to make demands that others perceived as outrageous, and his nerve to bet major resources on that vision.
According to Aggarwal, Jobs was hands-on in a way that no other CEO was. He personally met with the CEOs of each carrier, and "got deeply involved in the details he cared about." Jobs, Aggarwal recounts, was willing to take risks to "realize his vision" and made "outrageous" demands that ultimately worked out in Apple’s favor.
Aggarwal also found Jobs unique in his outrageous demands. As he explained, "Jobs said, '$50 a month unlimited voice, data, and SMS plan — that's our mission. We should ask for and go after something unreasonable that no one has been willing to accept.' He would come up with these outrageous demands and fight for them — getting much more than he otherwise would have."
AT&T's exclusivity agreement expired in 2010, but the deal Jobs struck with the company earned both AT&T and Apple an enormous amount of money thanks to the iPhone's immediate popularity with customers.

Top Rated Comments

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15 months ago

We will never see things like this from Cook.


give it a rest, already... you have no idea how cook operates since youve never been in the same room w/ the man.

stop trying to build this narrative of which you are not involved.
Rating: 16 Votes
15 months ago

"Jobs said, '$50 a month unlimited voice, data, and SMS plan -- that's our mission. We should ask for and go after something unreasonable that no one has been willing to accept.' He would come up with these outrageous demands and fight for them -- getting much more than he otherwise would have."

We will never see things like this from Cook.
Rating: 11 Votes
15 months ago
just shows you steve's intensity to get what he wanted. i feel like apple has a bunch of wusses running the show; that's probably why their products are so stale now.
Rating: 11 Votes
15 months ago
Now this is a reason how apple can be doomed without Steve...his involvement and ambition was off the charts!
Rating: 11 Votes
15 months ago
I still laugh at the thought that Verizon originally wanted to put their sh***y V-Cast software on it.
Rating: 11 Votes
15 months ago
I still remember waiting in line for the very first one at ATT/Cingular. Coolest thing ever when I finally got my hands on it.
Rating: 9 Votes
15 months ago
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." --George Bernard Shaw
Rating: 8 Votes
15 months ago

We will never see things like this from Cook.


Well of course we won't. But Cook has been an integral part of Apple since the late '90s. Without Cook you wouldn't have got the production pipelines of products sorted, or have the profit margins that Apple enjoy.

Steve Jobs is irreplaceable, that can't be argued. But IMHO, Cook is the perfect CEO for Apple. Leave the product design to Ive, leave the finance and manufacturing to Cook.
Rating: 7 Votes
15 months ago

We will never see things like this from Cook.

Tim is a wuss. Apple needs a prick at the helm to succeed against partners that will stab them in the back if given a chance and competitors ready to steal every idea they have.

Business is war people. It is not a charity or a friendly affair. You have to show dominance or everyone will walk all over you and steal your lunch money.

Cook was the perfect COO for doing the logistics stuff but he is not leadership material.
Rating: 6 Votes
15 months ago
I am an Apple fan (I'm also an SNL fan, with no regard to years and casts). The very first computer I purchased was a Performa 6360, it was an Open Box from Best Buy or whatever store there was like that at the time. Most Mac aficionados will tell you how crappy a computer that particular strain was. But for me it was the business and I will never speak ill of it. It was Mac, and I was 'in'.

It did things I hated, especially with OS 8, until they released a firmware update. I used to play games like Prime Target and Carmeggdon on my computer. I had Appleworks and I still miss it. Sure I was happy when Steve Jobs returned, even though I could only run 9.22 and never X. I upgraded to an eMac. It was a big ugly buster, but I loved it. Playing Descent and retyping the novel I had worked on for so many years. And I loved it.

Operating systems were never perfect, SoundDesign into iTunes, WTF? BUt I had bought in and would not turn back. I hated Windows with it's disappearing discs.

ANd here it is, years later, I've got my 27" iMac, my iPad and my iPhone(4s), two Apple TVs. Two of my three children have MacBook Pro's, my third child has his own iMac and his reprehensible Windblows machine (he's a gamer and feels he needs it, got it from his Mom who also has one).

Like most Apple fans, I hate that Steve Jobs died. I actually cried in the grocery store when I got the alert, like he was Frank Zappa or something. I'm sticking with them and would encourage others to as well. I like what they do. I like what they do (not everything. I still believe they should have commercials in the TV shows the offer on iTunes so we could choose to pay or watch commercials and then everyone is happy). But I think, without doubt or hesitation, that iOS and OS X are the best operating systems available for most folk on the planet.

Good Business!
Rating: 5 Votes

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