By now you know the news: Steve Jobs is stepping down as Apple
Several sources are reporting the story. TIME's Tech Land blog has a good rundown of the varying innuendo. All suggest some form of deal between Apple and T-Mobile is in the works, following earlier reports that Sprint Nextel
Combine these rumors with reports that Apple will include radios for both the major cell network technologies (i.e., CDMA and GSM) and you've got what looks like a major disruption in the making. Apple could be planning a smartphone that works equally well on any carrier network. I can only imagine how nervous AT&T
Historically, carriers have worked out limited exclusivity of certain premium handsets in order to preserve profits or even attract users lusting after upgrades or features. AT&T did it with the original iPhone while Verizon took heat for years for securing early access to Research In Motion's
Now it appears those days are gone, and with them any hope of carriers using artificial lures to lock in customers. They'll be forced to compete not only on price, but also on call quality, data delivery, and (gasp!) customer service. You know what? It's about freaking time.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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