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AT&T Seems To Be Preparing For Life After IPhone Exclusivity

AT&T, which will reportedly lose its stranglehold on Apple iPhones when Verizon enters the picture in January, is adding competing handsets and retraining store staff to prepare for the future, Greg Bensinger reports.

Its shelves will stock more than 20 smartphones during the holiday shopping season this year -- including ones running Microsoft and Google software -- as opposed to about 10 in 2009. Yesterday, AT&T reported that more than half of new customers chose a device other than the iPhone last quarter, up from 36% a year earlier.

"We made a conscious decision to give our customers a choice and let them decide what is best for them," says Jeff Bradley, AT&T's devices svp. "We're probably there now, at a critical mass," he says, and the iPhone will be part of that mass "for the foreseeable future."

"It's a very fine line," points out Craig Johnson, president of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. "If you stuff your store with too much merchandise, you can overwhelm a customer and that can turn them off."



Read the whole story at Bloomberg BusinessWeek »

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