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France liberates Jesus Phone from Orange

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On 18 September, French mobile-phone carrier Bouygues Telecoms complained to the country's competition council, charging that the agreement between Apple and Orange - the main brand of France Telecom - violates basic principles of competition.

Today, the competition council - the Conseil de la concurrence - agreed with Bouygues, a much smaller Orange competitor, and ordered that that exclusivity be immediately suspended, with the result that any French carrier, according to the ruling, is now able to offer l'iPhone.

According to CNNMoney.com, the council's reasoning was that the exclusive deal between Apple and Orange "by nature introduces a new factor of rigidity in a sector that already lacks competition." (A French-language PDF of the 48-page decision is available here).

The ruling is a temporary one, but will remain in place while the competition council studies the Bouygues Telecoms complaint in more detail. France Telecom, according to a report from AppleInsider, plans to appeal the ruling.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for their response to the ruling - but we assume they're not pleased. ®

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