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Apple 'more flexible' under Tim Cook, says telecom chief

CEO of France Telecom-Orange tells reporters that Apple is "a little less arrogant than they used to be," according to an All Things D report.

Tim Cook a kinder, gentler Apple CEO? Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple has become easier to do business with under Tim Cook's leadership, according to the chief at one major European wireless carrier.

"Apple has [become] more flexible, paying more attention to everyone else, probably a little less arrogant than they used to be," France Telecom-Orange CEO Stephane Richard told reporters today in Barcelona, Spain. According to All Things D, Richard compared today's company with the one led two years ago by Steve Jobs, saying, "I think they are probably a little more under pressure, and it is quite nice."

Indeed, Jobs was not a big fan of wireless carriers and had looked for a way to cut them out of the picture. The late Apple co-founder spent two years leading up to the release of the first iPhone trying to figure out how to turn Wi-Fi spectrum into a network that users could make phone calls on, as opposed to relying on carriers to get the job done.

Jobs eventually gave up the idea in 2007 and formed exclusive lucrative partnerships with AT&T in the U.S. and other carriers around the world. Since then, Apple has expanded its deals with other carriers, including Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and C Spire Wireless in the U.S.

Richard also said the wireless sector was growing too crowded to support market leaders iOS and Android, as well as challenges from Mozilla, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.

"There is probably not room for everyone," Richard said. "But all of us hope that among those initiatives, at least one will be able to emerge as a third ecosystem."