France Telecom-Orange CEO Stephane Richard noted during a dinner with reporters on Monday during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Apple has become easier to deal with. "Apple has [become] more flexible, paying more attention to everyone else, probably a little less arrogant than they used to be," Richard said, according to AllThingsD. He went on to compare the iPhone maker today with the iPhone maker under Steve Jobs' leadership. "I think they are probably a little more under pressure, and it is quite nice."
Richard is known for his outspoken comments -- and they didn't end with Apple. He admitted that it will be hard for any other mobile ecosystem to gain a foothold over iOS and Android, saying that telecom CEOs hope a powerful third player will emerge, although that seems unlikely. As for the fledgling Windows Phone, Richard says he doesn't see it catching on as it lacks a "wow" factor and doesn't do anything better than iOS or Android.
Richard's experience with the ease of working with Apple is clearly subjective, but given the increased competitiveness in the smartphone marketplace and the entrenchment of Android, it makes sense that the notoriously "my way or the highway" company might be more willing to give a little ground in order to keep its partners happy.