Ma Bell's Steamy Affair With an Android

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How OK is Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) CEO Steve Jobs with open relationships? We'll soon know.

AT&T (NYSE: T  ) yesterday unveiled the first Android-powered smartphone for its 3G network: Motorola's (NYSE: MOT  ) BACKFLIP. The carrier will begin carrying the handset in its retail stores on March 7, AT&T said in a press release.

Observers will rightly point out that AT&T has long done business with handset suppliers not named Apple. Jobs hasn't complained about the carrier's associations with Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) . Why should it matter that his exclusive iPhone bride, Ms. Bell, is pairing up with Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) telecom robot?

Because Google is the enemy, that's why.

Jobs badmouthed The Big G at a recent employee meeting, taking aim at both its yet-to-impress Nexus One smartphone and professed company motto, "Don't Be Evil." Ever since, Jobs has publicly treated Google as he once did Microsoft.

Frankly, this shouldn't matter much. Maybe it won't; Apple's fiscal-first-quarter iPhone sales were brisk, thanks in part to deals with China Unicom (NYSE: CHU  ) in China and KT Corp. in South Korea.

Investors still need to watch this relationship with eyes wide open. Taken together with other recent events, including AT&T's joining the Wholesale Applications Community -- a group that hopes to nurture more smartphone apps, and whose roster doesn't include Apple -- it's clear to me that Mr. Jobs and Ms. Bell aren't as close as they used to be.

And they're going to keep cheating on each other.

How soon will Apple introduce an iPhone with another U.S. carrier? Make your voice heard using the comments box below.

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Microsoft and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is forever committed to the company's trading guidelines.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2010, at 11:57 AM, MaBellIsDead wrote:

    Why do you bloggers continue to refer to Ma Bell? There is no such conglomerate. Ma Bell is dead.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2010, at 12:38 PM, Gerlitz wrote:

    Judging from how fast they opened up their computer OS, probably in about 10 years. Part of Apple's m-o is exclusivity (higher prices and margins). I don't think they want too much of a mass market.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2010, at 12:50 PM, jddubya wrote:

    This summer - Verizon Wireless

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2010, at 9:13 AM, IIWmaster wrote:

    Google Latitude + Google Ocean = Real-time Fishing LBS Contents

    Have you heard about Real-time Fishing LBS Contents? We have proposed this Service Model to Google over 4 years ago. Real-time Fishing LBS Contents is Location Based Service for IPTV, WiMAX, Mobile. This Service Model was created in 2002 by I&IWorld. I&IWorld's located in South Korea. As you know, there're many people enjoy fishing in the world(about 5 hundred million). I&IWorld's Real-time Fishing LBS Contents is like these.

    *Main Functions*

    1.The underwater topography and 3D views with fishing spots

    2.Real-time fishing points tracing by GPS and angling direction guide

    3.Service the real-time fishing condition about fishing place(weather, water temp, depth etc)

    4.Angler Social network(such as Second Life)

    Everyone knows that Google motto is, 'Don't be evil.' Is it all right? Visit, and type 'Real-time Fishing LBS Contents'. Search If you need more information, please send your email address.

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