iPhone delayed in France due to unlocking laws?

We're not exactly up on our French, let alone our French telecommunications law, but we're hearing that Apple's supposed launch of the iPhone in that country is being held up by two different regulations that prevent the iPhone from being the locked-down revenue-generating machine Apple wants it to be. The first, a law passed in 1998, requires that carriers unlock any phone upon customer request -- for a fee during the first six months of a contract and for free after that. Notably, all three major French carriers -- including Orange, which was supposed to get the iPhone -- have lost lawsuits challenging this law. The second, which we're slightly less clear on, apparently requires carriers to sell both locked and unlocked phones. Tensions over the regulations have apparently strained the relationship between the companies to the point where Orange spokespeople are saying things like "the risk we're evaluating this week is that Apple crosses France off," but really, who expected Apples and Oranges to mix without someone getting a little bruised?

Read -- French unlocking law with unlocking provision at end of Article II
Read -- Les Echoes report on Apple / Orange tension

[Via The Unlock iPhone Blog]

Disclaimer: Although this post was written by an attorney, the attorney in question only met his university's foreign language graduation requirement by reciting an Eddie Izzard routine verbatim, so this post should not be considered legal advice or analysis of any kind.