The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
Tell us how you really feel about AT&T, John Legere.
The enigmatic T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO, whose Twitter profile picture makes him look more like an 80s hair metal icon than a corporate suit, has often had unflattering comments about his rivals.
Legere took his feud with AT&T to a whole other level Tuesday. And he apparently has a new foe as well: Amazon (AMZN).
The Kindle maker (and enemy of book publisher Hachette) is widely expected to unveil a 3-D smartphone at an event in Seattle on Wednesday. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Amazon is said to be making the phone an exclusive for AT&T subscribers.
Legere went nuts about this. Here are his tweets.
Ouch. Now to be fair, T-Mobile is said to be in talks to merge with Sprint (S). That's a deal that will also make two biggish companies a lot bigger. The combined firm would have almost as many subscribers as AT&T and Verizon (VZ). But I digress.
T-Mobile is based in Bellevue, Washington. Maybe Legere and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos can settle their differences at a Mariners' game? While sipping a Starbucks (SBUX) latte? And listening to Pearl Jam? In the rain?
Read the next sentences like Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live. Do you remember when AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile in 2011 and the government said no? That was awesome.
I agree ... which is yet another reason why I hope Legere doesn't agree to a Sprint deal. It's hard to be an "uncarrier" with about 100 million subscribers.
The HTC First -- aka the Facebook (FB) phone -- was a disaster. It's sort of like the New Coke of smartphones.
This is a bit of a low blow. The article that Legere links to is a great one. But it was written in 2009.
Yes, many people still do not like AT&T. Still, it is unfair to re-surface an article from five years ago as evidence of AT&T's "failures."
I could rightfully claim that Netflix's (NFLX) streaming business was a failure in 2009 because it offered little more than old movies. That was true then. Not now.
AT&T had no comment about Legere's tweets. Amazon was not immediately available for comment.
And to play devil's advocate, you also have to wonder if Legere would turn down an offer from a major hardware company to make T-Mobile an exclusive carrier for a new phone.
It's, of course, a moot point. Most companies now realize it's silly to have their new products on just one carrier. Apple (AAPL) is not going to suddenly decide that just one company should get the iPhone 6, iPhone Air or whatever the next iPhone is going to be called.
Still, would Legere really say no to an exclusive ... for the good of the industry?
But these are minor nitpicks. Considering that most CEOs are dreadfully boring to talk to and many shun social media entirely, Legere's candor is refreshing. Heck, it makes my job a lot more fun. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for.
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