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iPhone UK Launch: Jobs Has 'Upset Girlfriends'

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) boss Steve Jobs chose a dating metaphor today to explain his relationships with the U.K.'s competing mobile operators.

In London to announce the launch of the iPhone in the U.K. with partner Telefónica UK Ltd. , Jobs was asked to comment on media reports that Apple had played all the U.K.'s mobile operators -- O2, Vodafone UK , Orange UK , T-Mobile (UK) , and Three UK -- against each other to find the most lucrative partner, leaving a trail of disgruntled carriers in its wake. (See iPhone Invades UK and Jobs Leads iPhone Into UK.)

"We wanted to get to know all the possible partners," the CEO told a press conference in the Apple store on Regent Street in London. "Partnerships take a lot of work -- it's a bit like getting married," added Jobs, warming to his own theme.

"You want to go out on a few dates before you get married," he continued, "so we went out on a few dates, and then we got married to O2. So there are a few upset girlfriends out there," concluded Jobs to roars of laughter and applause, most of which came from the assembled throngs of Apple staffers. Jobs was hosting the conference with his new friend, O2 U.K. CEO Matthew Key.

Jobs was unavailable to comment about how long he thinks the marriage will last and whether Apple might be tempted to flirt with its new bride's spurned rivals.

Apple and O2 will consummate the marriage on November 9.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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