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Apple, Orange to unleash iPhone in France on Nov. 29

Apple and Orange jointly announced Tuesday that Orange, the leading wireless carrier in France, will be the exclusive French carrier partner for the iPhone when it makes its local debut on Thursday, November 29.

The two companies were widely expect announce plans for the Apple handset's French debut last month, but last minute disputes regarding both French law and the percentage of service revenues Orange would have to give to Apple spurred fears that the two parties would be unable to come to terms ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“The iPhone is a marvelous product and will change how people think about mobile. I’m delighted that it is launching in France through Orange, and I’m sure that our customers share my excitement," said Didier Lombard, CEO of France Telecom, which owns the Orange brand. "Our partnership with Apple is a natural fit because we are two global brands who share the same values of simplicity and innovation. It’s going to be a very merry Christmas for Orange customers all over the country!”

iPhone is scheduled to go on sale on November 29 and will be sold in France through Orange’s online and direct retail stores. It's unclear whether the handset will be offered for sale via Apple's local online store. The Apple handset will be available in an 8GB model for €399 including V.A.T. for any subscription to one of the dedicated rate plans and will work with either a PC or Mac.

As is the case with the US version of iPhone, activation will require an Internet connection; an iTunes Store account; the latest version of iTunes available at www.itunes.fr and a PC or Mac with a USB 2.0 port and one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later; Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 2 or later; or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise or Ultimate Edition.

iPhone will also launch in two other European countries — the U.K. and Germany — on November 9th.