Apple's best mobile network buddy, Orange, is apparently on the verge of signing an agreement with the fruity company to subsidise its laptops.
According to Mobile Today, Orange could be selling Apple's laptops as from this summer. The website did not provide with any information regarding whether this would be an exclusive deal although the article mentions that Orange will distribute the laptops only through its direct channels which means no third parties like Carphone Warehouse or Phone4U.
Furthermore, while Mobile Today asserts that Orange will indeed distribute Apple's Macbook, there are chances that the France-Telecom owned mobile network could resell Apple's soon-to-be-announced Netbook instead (ed : why not read 8 Ways The Apple Netbook Will Be Different).
Orange is understood to have almost completed the test of its broadband dongles on the laptops. Sadly though, initially, there will be no embedded SIM option. Currently, Orange's cheapest free laptop deal is the Asus 901 EEE PC which cost £24.47 with 3GB usage included for a total contract price of £587.
A 24-month 3GB mobile contract costs £352.32. it is therefore highly likely that (a) Orange will sell the laptop with a £45 or more 10GB broadband package on a two year contract (b) Orange will very heavily subsidise the offer, probably offering the £719 white Macbook for £299 only.
Orange has worked with Apple in a number of territories on the iPhone and is currently selling the smartphone in nearly 30 territories, making it one of the biggest iPhone partners.
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Back in September 2008, there were rumours about a possible, similar deal with O2, the original iPhone partner. But for some reasons, it did not go through and O2 went with Samsung instead. AT&T has also been rumoured to be Apple's sparring partner for the launch of Apple's Netbook.
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