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Sprint CEO Dan Hesse talks Palm Pre dealsMaggie Reardon interviews Sprint CEO Dan Hesse about the Palm Pre and breaks exclusive news that the Palm Pre could be exclusive to Sprint longer than six months.
>> Dan, in your little talk there you were talking about how the Pre is the coming out party for Sprint's new network. Can you explain what you mean by that? >> Dan Hesse: Yeah well over the last 12 months, we've really worked in improving the customer experience, our customer care, our service, our retail but particularly building up our networks. So that's why our new advertising and we can legally support it. It's the most dependable 3G network out there and our voice calling area is as big as anyone's. So the Pre really gives us an opportunity to show off that great network and great customer experience as well as what we've done on the offer side. For customers that like to surf and text and use a lot of data and have unlimited voice, you'll save 12 hundred dollars over a 2 year period versus either AT&T or Verizon so you could buy an extra 6 Pres while you're at it. >> Great, now Verizon and AT&T have each said that they're going to be coming out with their own version of the Pre in 6 months. How does that -- you know does that sort of throw some water the launch here and your plans for the Pre? >> Dan Hesse: Well first of all, that's not a true statement. I mean I don't know what they said, but that's not true. Neither one of us - Pre or Sprint - have talked about how long the exclusivity period lasts but it's not that. >> So are you saying that the exclusivity is longer than 6 months? >> Dan Hesse: We haven't said publicly but there's a good chance it is. >> Okay, you know obviously everybody calls the Pre the iPhone killer, but when do you think Sprint will get the iPhone? Will it ever get the iPhone? >> Dan Hesse: We don't know if we ever will get the iPhone. And so it's not in our plans, but we feel so good about our relationship with Palm and not only the Pre but their device roadmap. They are going to be a terrific partner for whether it's consumers or business users. And one of the things I love about the Pre is it's really the first device that crosses over business, personal, fun. Palm is a company that we're going to have a great relationship with for a long time. >> And one last question here, what -- you know, you've been highlighting the Pre as a business device, but a lot of the reviews that are out already you know Walt Mossberg included and our own Bonnie Cha from CNET have said that it doesn't seem to really be a great business device. More for the consumer. You know the keypad is a little bit too small. What would you say to that? >> Dan Hesse: Well I disagree. This has been my primary device for 6 weeks. And I understand. I'm the power business user. I've traditionally used Microsoft Windows and REM -- you know, Blackberry devices which are really very, very good business devices. But I have all my email -- the beauty about it is you can actually integrate it. It's the first device for example I can integrate my personal calendar with my business calendar. I can look at my business calendar by itself. I can look at it altogether. It integrates for the business person, actually adds a lot of additional functionality that's never been there. I have big hands too. I mean, I'm 6-5. I've got big claws. The keyboard's great. That physical QWERTY keyboard by the way does make a big difference. It works very, very well for me. So Palm really comes from a business lineage if you think of the Treo and all the Palm devices. This thing was started as a business device but what they decided to do was also make it that great personal device because no one had done that before. So I beg to differ from a personal point of view and also for the - if you will - the road warrior you can carry a spare battery. The touch tone is really made for business I think which is a charging device I have on my desk. I don't have to worry about you know plugging it in and finding a cord. You know, it's just wirelessly to charge the device. You put it on your touchtone and when a call comes in and it's got a great speakerphone which is also a business device, I mean really nice speakerphone. One of best -- probably the best one I've heard. I could have a business call on the speakerphone. When a call comes in if it's on the touchtone it knows it's on the speaker and so it automatically goes to speaker. And if I want to pick it up and take it to my ear, I just pick it up and put it here. So I think it's a great business device. >> What about the -- you know, I think the device is launching with maybe a dozen applications? The iPhone has got you know tens of thousands of applications in its app store. Do you think that's going to hurt the device coming out of the gate and hurt you guys? >> Dan Hesse: Well I think everybody would expect a brand new device is not going to have the number of applications as a device that's been out for a long time. We have very aggressive plans both Palm and Sprint to bring a lot of terrific applications to the Pre. It will take time. So we weren't going to wait to launch the device until all the apps were built. So if you will the specs, the toolkits and what have you have only recently been made available to the developers. The developers are very excited about it so expect to see a steady stream of lots of new applications added for the Pre. But we're really in the game. >> Okay, thanks a lot for joining us.