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O2 Blames Apple

6:00 AM -- The drama hasn't died down yet over Telefónica UK Ltd. 's iPhone online preordering kerfuffle in the U.K. this week. Now, a letter from O2 sales director Stephen Shurrock sent to an angry O2 customer has been posted here, like fresh meat thrown into a pool of piranhas.

In the letter, Shurrock blames Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) for not supplying enough 3G iPhones and that the devices will be in short supply for a while:

"…We have been working continuously with [Apple] to get as much stock for the UK as possible. Unfortunately, they have only been able to supply a small proportion of the number of phones we asked for, because they are launching simultaneously in 22 countries. We are confident that over time we will start to get sufficient volume to meet demand, but it is likely that stock will be in very short supply for some weeks to come…

"…To put it in context we had over 200,000 people expressing interest and only a very small proportion of that number of devices available."

Meanwhile, New Zealanders are already pitching tents and Australians are getting excited about being among the first in the world to buy the new iPhones, thanks to their time zones. The phones go on sale in New Zealand at 12:01 am Friday, which is noon Thursday according to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). (See It's Only a Phone.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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