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Apple Requires Comcast and Charter to Sell iPads and Apple TVs as Part of iPhone Deal

As part of the deal allowing cable companies Comcast and Charter to sell iPhones for their respective mobile services, Apple has required them to also sell large numbers of other devices, reports CNBC.

Both Comcast and Charter have wireless services as part of an MVNO agreement with Verizon. Comcast offers Xfinity Mobile with approximately 1.5 million subscribers, while Charter offers Spectrum Mobile with approximately 300,000 subscribers.


The two cable companies wanted to be able to offer the iPhone in an effort to better compete with the four major carriers in the United States -- Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile -- and as part of the deal allowing Comcast and Charter to sell iPhones, Apple made them agree to sell other devices too.

The iPhone's popularity made it impossible for Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile to compete without offering it, according to CNBC's sources, which meant Apple had "ample leverage" in deal negotiations.

Specific terms of the two deals are not known, but Comcast is required to sell a certain number of iPads, which CNBC says is in the thousands, at a subsidized cost. Comcast is required to pay the difference between the discounted price and the retail price.

Comcast offers the cellular 6th-generation iPad for $422.99, a discount from the standard $459 price. Comcast also sells cellular versions of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Air, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, all at discounted prices.

Subscribers are promised a $15 per month credit applied to their monthly statement for any iPad purchased.

Charter's deal is different and involves the Apple TV, which Charter offers as an alternative to a traditional cable box.
Charter sells Apple TVs at $7.50 per month for 24 months - or $180, the retail cost of an Apple TV. Alternatively, a customer can lease a Charter set-top box for $7.50 per month. In other words, Charter offers an Apple TV at the same price as a Charter set-top box, but a customer ends up owning the Apple TV and returning the Charter box. Charter has become the largest third-party seller of Apple TVs because of the agreement, two of the people said.
According to CNBC, there are benefits in these deals for Comcast and Charter beyond being able to offer the iPhone. iPads and Apple Watches "enhance the value" of the Comcast wireless service, and the Apple TV offers a better navigation interface for Charter customers.

Many of Apple's carrier partners around the world also sell Apple devices other the iPhone, much like Charter and Comcast.

Tag: Comcast


Top Rated Comments

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10 weeks ago
Things must be getting bad for Apple sales to force this.
Rating: 20 Votes
10 weeks ago

Things must be getting bad for Apple sales to force this.

Geez, can we stop with the always speculative doom and gloom nonsense?

This is normal business, just like pricing changes, promotions, etc. Welcome to Wallstreet where you consistently have to sell more stuff in the same period of time.

And guess what? Are Comcast and Charter American companies? Revenues in the Americas region hit all time records. Apple is NOT struggling in the US.

Almost all of their sales pressure has come from China. They still managed to put up $60B in PROFIT in 2018, or more than twice Google, as an example.

Apple is THE most profitable company in the world and doesn't need tips on sales execution. They are THE best at making money and this is just another way to do that.

Hate on though.
Rating: 13 Votes
10 weeks ago
Love it! Apple dictating terms to the monopolistic cable companies. What goes around comes around!
Rating: 7 Votes
10 weeks ago

I suspect that Comcast and Verizon may have a pretty good case if they wanted to take Apple out for illegal tying.


And I suspect you are not a lawyer.
Apple does not have a monopoly or a near monopoly on the smart phone market in the US. It doesn’t even have a majority. Therefore tying is not illegal, just a normal part of business negotiations, two sides trying to get the best deal they can.
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Apple apparently just begging for an anti-trust action.


Nope, because they don’t even have a majority of smartphone sales in the IS, let alone a near monopoly. Nothing remotely anti-trust about this, standard business practice. See above.
[doublepost=1560486240][/doublepost]

This is exactly the business model. Another similar model is the one Qualcomm employed that caused Apple to file a complaint with the FTC.


No, the Qualcomm situation is completely different.
1. Qualcomm was demanding a cut of the entire device despite its patents not covering the majority of components
2. Qualcomm’s patents were standards based, i.e. they covered technology that all phones are REQUIRED to use and thus must be offered under specific pricing and use guidelines (FRAND) which Apple alleges that Qualcomm violated.

It had nothing to do with product tying.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 weeks ago

How about you require them to support Apple Watch too so I can switch.

Yes please.
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Comcast and Charter are tiny carriers who don’t have their own infrastructure hence their agreement with Verizon. They’re in no way “monopolies”.
The agreement is purely around the cellular service, not around the Internet or TV part… which I agree make Comcast and Charter monopolies but Apple is not dictating anything to them in that regard.

But cable companies are used to negotiating must carry contracts and forced bundles by content providers. They likely didnt blink at this.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 weeks ago
I hope Apple made Comcast offer zero sign-on as part of the agreement.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 weeks ago

Love it! Apple dictating terms to the monopolistic cable companies. What goes around comes around!

Comcast and Charter are tiny carriers who don’t have their own infrastructure hence their agreement with Verizon. They’re in no way “monopolies”.
The agreement is purely around the cellular service, not around the Internet or TV part… which I agree make Comcast and Charter monopolies but Apple is not dictating anything to them in that regard.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 weeks ago

Things must be getting bad for Apple sales to force this.



No, they are still bringing in billions and billions. Everyone agrees Apple will sell over 200 MILLION iPhones this year and tens of millions of iPads. This is just standard industry practice when you want to carry a manufacturers product; they often require you carry all or part of entire line.
[doublepost=1560485204][/doublepost]

Apple apparently just begging for an anti-trust action.



So much misunderstanding about "anti-trust" law. This practice has nothing to do with it, and is, in fact, a standard practice in the business world. It's not an "anti-trust" issue if you and I decide we want to sell a product for a company, e.g., we want to sell Rolex watches in our store, and Rolex decides they don't want us selling their watches, or they say you can sell them, but you're going to carry an entire line, you have to have a certain type of display space, or you have to guarantee a certain number of sales, etc. It's called the free market. No one is forcing these companies to sell Apple products. If Apple poses too onerous of terms, then there will be less demand for these companies to carry Apple products.
Rating: 3 Votes
10 weeks ago

Actually this is called tying and is illegal if a company is doing it to exercise monopolistic control of a market (and no, they don't have to be a de facto monopoly to be interpreted as exercising monopolistic control).

Apple isn’t breaking any law here and does not have monopolistic power...at all.
Rating: 2 Votes
10 weeks ago

Things must be getting bad for Apple sales to force this.


Kind of inane thing to say. You read the part where they sell the other devices at most carriers right?

Free market, you negotiate
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FYI, just because it's been going on for decades doesn't mean it's legal.

Also, how carriers behaved isn't necessarily tying. Tying is forcing someone to take product B when they want product A. Illegal tying is when you have enough bargaining power to force vendors to take product B even though they want product A. Carriers wanted exclusivity and control.

And yes, I remember the old days. You've forgotten that the iPhone was actually on Cingular, which was bought by AT&T before the iPhone release.

Example tying: Microsoft and IE back in the day, forcing people to buy Windows licenses for each computer shipped even though the computers didn't have Windows on them.

I suspect that Comcast and Verizon may have a pretty good case if they wanted to take Apple out for illegal tying.


Doubt it. They freely entered an agreement. You would be right only if they had on record that they absolutely did not want to sell other products. But they probably have a good deal on the iPads, and if they don't sell, they probably can return them.
Rating: 2 Votes

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