During Steve Jobs' european tour last month, Apple announced partnerships with T-Mobile and O2 to provide the iPhone in both Germany and the UK. Notably absent, however, was the iPhone announcement for France. Orange had been long rumored to be the likely carrier for iPhone in France, and Orange even announced that they would indeed be the exclusive iPhone carrier. Apple, however, has remained silent on the topic.
One issue appears to be a French law that requires mobile phones to be unlocked after 6 months of contract. HardMac claims to have details on the current agreement between Apple and Orange regarding the iPhone distribution in France.
According to their sources, Apple will accept that an unlocked iPhone will be made available at the end of 6 months in France. If true, this would essentially open up a legitimate source of unlocked iPhones.