While Cingular (er, AT&T, but you know what we mean) couldn't seem prouder of its iPhone exclusivity, apparently Apple's first choice was Verizon, but the two companies couldn't agree on a deal that worked for both companies. "We said no." Said Jim Gerace, a VZW VP. "We have nothing bad to say about the Apple iPhone. We just couldn't reach a deal that was mutually beneficial." Talks began as far back as two years ago, but Apple's demands were steep. They also give us an idea of what exactly is behind the Apple / Cingular agreement: Apple wanted a percentage of monthly service fees, control over distribution that would limit iPhone sales to Apple and Verizon stores, and even some control over service and support for iPhone customers. "They would have been stepping in between us and our customers to the point where we would have almost had to take a back seat ... on hardware and service support," say Gerace. Cingular doesn't quite see it that way, so perhaps Apple changed its conditions a bit when it started courting Cingy. Says Mark Siegel, a Cingular spokesman, "I don't want to leave the impression that these (iPhone) customers are not ours. They are." Mark also mentioned that Cingular would field calls related to wireless service, and that "We think this is a win for Apple, and it is a win for Cingular." Whether consumers -- who would have presumably had a fair shot at an EV-DO iPhone with Verizon as a service provider -- will win in the end is yet to be seen.

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Verizon passed up Apple iPhone deal