Since Apple said it was working with Motorola to develop a version of iTunes for mobile phones more than a year ago, the rumor of the company entering the phone business in one way or another has done the rounds time and time again, whether it be in the form of an Apple "iPhone" or the company becoming an MVNO. This time, a Forbes columnist says Apple will enter the virtual operator market. Why? Because Disney is doing it. Apparently the guy is taken in by the MVNO model that lets companies "easily" enter the mobile market -- never mind that, apart from Virgin, building an operator around a brand like Apple or Disney remains an unproven proposition, and regardless of the success of the iPod, it's hard to see Apple making the handset business work when established companies like Siemens and Sendo can't. But the biggest obstacle are the network operators themselves. For all the talk of how an MVNO would let Apple route around carriers, it still has to deal with one to get its network up and running. If a carrier feels like Apple's going to do something that will keep money out of its own pocket, it will make Apple pay for the privilege, or just not deal with Apple at all. And surely after Steve Jobs' comment referring to the biggest US carriers as "the five orifices", they won't be lining up to help him out.
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