In a breaking development for the cellphone industry, US Rep. Edward J. Markey announced yesterday that the iPhone will become an "expensive paperweight" even if you pay the $175 early termination fee to AT&T. Markey, whose top contributor in the cellphone carrier business for the 2004 election was Sprint (AT&T is also listed), apparently ignored "locked phones" and "termination fees" until the iPhone's arrival. So why now?

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The representative for the 7th District of Massachusetts also said the iPhone was like a "Hotel California service. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave—you're stuck with your iPhone and you can't take it anywhere." Like any other bloody locked phone (which can be unlocked only through alternative methods, just like the iPhone will soon.) So why Markey has now his knickers in a twist for something that every carrier has been doing for years with all locked phones, exclusive or not?

Isn't it hypocritical that this guy zeroes in on the extremely popular iPhone? What about other locked phones? If locked phones are the industry standard, why does the iPhone have to be different? Why doesn't he go after all carriers instead of singling out AT&T and Apple? Is this political interest? Does he just want to grab some headlines? A tad of good ole lobbying perhaps?

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We can only speculate about it, but I think it's weird that instead of pursuing legislation against all locked phones, he decides to target the iPhone only in this statement. I'm not advocating prohibiting locked phones, just following his thinking. After all, the carriers subsidize the phones and they are free to do whatever offer they want just as everyone else is free not to buy into it. However, only a small percentage of people will buy the iPhone while the majority of the American people (and everyone else in the world) are affected by the locked-phone practice for better or worse.

In another news, according to completely unreliable and probably drunk sources, Rep. Markey, is getting ready to announce to the world that water freezes at zero degrees celsius soon. [Boston Herald]

UPDATED at 11:30AM EST

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