CNBC’s Jim Goldman just concluded a post MacWorld Keynote interview with Steve Jobs. Goldman asked Jobs about the reported “end to talks” with China Mobile. According to Goldman, Steve Jobs said there were no such ongoing negotiations. He noted that there has been only one China Mobile representative that has visited Apple’s Cupertino HQ and that meeting took place months ago.
My guess … There have been some preliminary chats but “negotiations” (serious back and forth over a contract) have yet to happen.
AT&T made an iPhone deal with Apple without the benefit of dissecting the product. They put their faith in Apple and were rewarded. China Mobile may not take this approach. China (Nation/State) and China Mobile have made their new 3G (TD-SCDMA) network a priority (albeit a full-scale TD-SCDMA launch will likely be deferred until 2009). China Mobile will demand that the new iPhone support their new 3G network. And China Mobile may want “hands on” testing time with the new 3G iPhone before they hold serious contract talks. Apple almost certainly has the new 3G model under lock-in-key in Cupertino. While the new model may be relatively refined, Apple may not be ready to let China Mobile engineers run network tests with their new “oh so gorgeous” baby … just yet.
There is clearly more to this story so stay tuned. The Goldman video interview should be queued up later today and we’ll hear directly from Steve Jobs.
Paraphrasing Jim Goldman’s interview with Steve Jobs …
Regarding China Mobile
Steve Jobs: “It’s very strange … we’ve met once with one of their representatives. There have never been any ‘hot and heavy’ discussions either ‘on’ or ‘off’ … someone is just making this stuff up.”