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With just one week and over 250,000 sales under its belt, one would think that Verizon Wireless executives would be breaking out the bubbly to celebrate the successful release of its much-anticipated competitor to AT&T’s iPhone, the Android 2.0. But, alas, a lawsuit filed by AT&T in an Atlanta Federal Court earlier this month has forced Verizon’s management team to forgo the Dom in favor of defense attorneys.
Droid creators carefully designed the device, anticipating several potential legal problems with other competing smartphones. For instance, one of the biggest criticisms of the new phone by techies thus far is its failure to include a pinch-to-zoom feature, which would enable a Droid user to shrink and expand the screen to her liking. The feature, however, was intentionally excluded from the Droid’s wide array of functions, as Apple has recently filed a patent application for its pinch-to-zoom technology on the iPhone.
The lawsuit that pits the two mobile service provider powerhouses AT&T and Verizon against each other involves a clever ad campaign launched by Verizon earlier this month: “There’s a Map for That.” AT&T claims that the maps published by Verizon in the commercials may confuse people, duping them into thinking that the white spaces on the maps represent areas where AT&T lacks coverage. Furthermore, AT&T alleges that the ads are causing the company an incalculable market share loss. In its complaint, AT&T requested a temporary restraining order that would force the ads to be pulled until the litigation is resolved.
Verizon claims that the suit is meritless. In response to AT&T’s seemingly weak claim, Verizon filed a scathing, forty-four page response with the court, stating climactically that “AT&T did not file the lawsuit because Verizon’s ‘There’s a Map for That’ advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.”
It seems like AT&T has gotten its feathers ruffled not because the ad is deceptively wrong, but instead because the ad is deceptively right. AT&T’s real beef is that it failed to update its own 3G service in anticipation of the smartphone revolution, and it must now suffer the consequences of a poor business decision. From this tech-neophyte and iPhone devotee’s point of view, perhaps AT&T should stop whining that the smartphone underdog finally caught up in the tech race and start working on expanding its own 3G network.
– Lauren Sibyl Bair
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