OK kids, shake hands and go home.
It started as many playground disputes do: Apple and AT&T had teamed up, and found out they could have a little fun needling Verizon over the iPhone's slick hardware, interface and app store. Verizon stood there and took it for months – what could it do? The iPhone led the smartphone industry, and AT&T had a lock on US distribution of it.
Until one day, Verizon just couldn't take it anymore and turned the bullies' taunting words against them – "There's a map for that." Brilliant!
It was a throw-down like no other. AT&T surely had a clever retort, right? Something about its ETF-incurring abilities? A knock on Verizon's two-letter stock symbol?
Shockingly, AT&T (Apple probably had to go home to make some movies) didn't play along. It committed the ultimate playground foul: it went to the teacher (well, the legal department), complaining that Verizon's ads unfairly characterized its 3G coverage, and eventually filing a lawsuit to get Verizon's ads pulled.
Verizon, in a Georgia district court filing, had this to say as a response:
AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon’s "There’s A Map For That" advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.
AT&T and Apple then rolled out attack ads of their own, turning first to actor Luke Wilson to tout the perceived advantages of its network, and then to an ad crowing about the advantages of the iPhone's voice and data multitasking trick. The catchphrase? A very playground-appropriate "Can your phone and your network do that?"
Now all sides have dropped their legal complaints, and both have since moved on to other ads: Verizon to reindeer, and AT&T to more Luke Wilson.
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