For all the hype concerning the iPhone -- and yes, I'm including in the deluge -- we investors ought to remember that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iconic creation has yet to face its toughest battle. That's to come this holiday shopping season, when Taiwan's High Tech Computer (HTC) brings its Touch phone to major European markets, including the U.K. and France.

It's along the shores of the Seine where this i-tussle could be won or lost. Both Apple and HTC have struck deals with France Telecom's (NYSE:FTE) Orange, which means the French mobile service will play host to both the iPhone and the Touch.

Which one Paris' digital junkies will anoint as their favorite is anyone's guess. Don't laugh; HTC has put up outstanding numbers with the Touch. More than 800,000 of the devices have been sold since its July 22 debut. No, that's not 1 million, but it is impressive nonetheless.

Remember also that the iPhone is saddled with slower carrier connectivity. HTC, meanwhile, is prepping the Touch to work with Europe's fastest carrier data networks, also known as 3G or "third generation." Both phones come with Wi-Fi embedded.

Will Apple have Paris? I'm guessing yes, but we'll have to wait for winter's chill to find out. Bonne chance, Steve.

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