Friday, February 11, 2011, 06:50 pm PT (09:50 pm ET)
Briefly: AT&T loyalty minutes, shareholder proposal, Verizon iPhone trafficAT&T is offering 1000 rollover minutes to loyal customers in hopes of staving off defections to the Verizon network, and an Apple shareholder voting proposal calling for a majority vote to reelect board members has gained support from three prominent advisory services. Also, a new carrier tracking service estimates Verizon iPhone network traffic already accounts for more than 3 percent of all US iPhone-based traffic.
Reports emerged Friday that AT&T is offering 1000 rollover minutes as a customer appreciation promotion. Though initial reports suggested that the offer was only for iPhone customers near the end of their contracts, numerous AT&T customers without iPhones claim to have been approved for the bonus minutes.
Customers activated the promotion by texting "Yes" to the number "11113020." Processing of the bonus minutes could take up to 4 weeks.
This isn't the first promotion that AT&T has used to steal thunder from Verizon's iPhone 4 launch on Thursday. On Wednesday, AT&T teased an unlimited mobile to any mobile calling feature, promising more details on Thursday.
The Verizon iPhone 4 launch was relatively uneventful. One analyst called the release "a yawner" because most customers had elected to preorder online rather than brave the cold. Another analyst reported demand as healthy, but not "blowout," and indicated that sales should still be on track for at least 1 million units in the first week.
Ahead of Apple's annual shareholder meeting on Feb. 23, three prominent advisory services have thrown their weight behind a shareholder proposal favoring majority votes for unopposed board member reelections, Reuters reports.
The proposal was initiated by pension giant CalPERS, which owns at least 2 million shares of Apple stock. CalPERS announced Friday that Egan-Jones Proxy Services, Glass, Lewis & Co and ISS Proxy Services are in support of the proposal. Proxy firms advise and sometimes vote on behalf of corporate shareholders.
Apple, which opposes the resolution, currently has a plurality vote rule in uncontested elections, which, according to CalPERS, could allow a board member's reelection with just a single vote.
Though the shareholder proposal is non-binding, California law requires companies with majority-vote policies to step down should they fail to win a majority.
ISS Proxy Services also supports a second shareholder proposal that would require Apple to disclose a CEO succession plan. Apple has argued that disclosing its succession plan would give competitors an "unfair advantage."
Verizon iPhone traffic
A new "Carrier Clash" tracker from ad network Chitika claims to show the share of US iPhone-based traffic that AT&T and Verizon each have. According to the tracker, Verizon's share of network traffic has reached 3.4 percent just days after launching the iPhone 4.
The tracker measures cellular connections from iPhones across the Chitika advertising network. Percentages are a 24-rolling average, update hourly.
In just two hours of preorders, sales of the iPhone 4 on Verizon beat the carrier's previous sales records for any handset. Brick-and-mortar sales of the device have been muted, however, with one blogger calling launch day lines "laughably short."
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