I had a long but unhappy relationship with AT&T through much of the 1990s, an era when there were few alternatives to long-distance telephone carriers and Internet providers.
The signal moment in that relationship, which is to say the beginning of the end, was when after weeks of unsuccessfully trying to deal with a billing issue that included bait and switch tactics, I was put through to what I was told was a complaint line in the CEO's office. It was there that a spoke to a young woman who wondered how it was possible that I had a telephone in the post office box where my bill was sent.
I was comped with six months of free phone and Net service for my frustrations, but quickly moved on when I had consumed that free lunch. It was obvious that AT&T really didn't want my business and was affronted when I had problems with theirs, and I never looked back.
Not too long after our divorce, AT&T -- once the bluest of the blue chips -- went further into a years long death spiral and only survived not by improving its wretched business practices but by shedding most of its operations so it could concentrate on being bad at fewer things.
And so it comes as no surprise that AT&T, which has the exclusive wireless network rights to the red-hot iPhone, is not merely content with running a dysfunctional G3 system that has iPhone customers in big cities tearing their hair out. (Talk to an iPhone user, and I know a bunch of them, and they rave about the phone and go stark raving mad about AT&T's service.)
No, it also wants to screw their iPhone customers by . . . are you ready for this? bait-and-switch tactics, as well as holding hostage what Jeff Jarvis calls "Apple fanboys."