AT&T fumbles getting MMS to iPhone users

The demand for iPhones among execs has reached a fever pitch, but so has the discontent among owners of the popular smartphone, who’ve been waiting far too long for the promised MMS capability the phone’s been lacking since its introduction.

The tech blogs are abuzz with chatter among the phone’s users who were promised MMS capability for their iPhones back in June when the popular smartphone’s software got an update.

So where’s the MMS? It’s coming, says the unit’s exclusive U.S. carrier, AT&T. Just hang on …

Of course, iPhone owners outside the U.S. have had MMS since the June upgrade, but for some reason, AT&T just can’t seem to get its act into gear on this improvement.

For those unfamiliar with MMS, it’s Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), an upgraded version of the SMS (Short Messaging Service) through which you can send and receive multimedia messages like  texts, pictures, video clips, audio clips, etc., using a cell phone.

The iPhone currently has SMS capability, but users have been clamoring since Apple’s smartphone arrived on the scene several years ago for MMS, a more advanced messaging service that lets users send multiple media in one single message to one or more recipients.

I recently quizzed an employee at an AT&T phone kiosk in a local mall about the delay. He told me that his company hadn’t heard about the MMS capability promise until the rest of us did — at the Apple announcement three months ago.

Not sure I believe a low-level sales guy is privvy to the C-suite conversations between corporate execs, but if this is true, Apple may be laying the groundwork for abandoning its lone U.S. partner in the iPhone service industry.

What company wouldn’t tell its trusted partner about such a significant upgrade until after it had announced the feature to the entire world?

It’s hard to imagine execs at companies that have partnered on such a significant technology not keeping each other tightly in the loop about planned functionality changes that would require all involved to act in concert.

Those of you out there who run an organization: Can you imagine treating a business partner this way?

Apple had promised MMS capability to iPhone owners by “late summer,” and if the announcement that it will be offered on September 25 is true, then the original promise has been broken. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory’s official timetable, the 2009 Autumnal Equinox is set for September 22 at 5:18 p.m.

As an iPhone owner, I’m not pleased. Just wondering how Apple’s C-suite execs feel.

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