No iPhone for AT&T Business Account Customers?


AppleInsider is reporting via a tipster that AT&T will not be offering the iPhone to its Business Account customers. If you fall into that camp, you'll need to purchase your unit through individual contracts.

I can hear the collective screams of biz users as loud as the guy from the Paris Hilton press conference. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


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Update: June 29, at 6:00PM Local Time

Reader comments

No iPhone for AT&T Business Account Customers?


I just spoke with AT&T wireless. They told me that they will not sell the iphone to business customers. It seems like a ridiculous policy since the iphone is so expensive.
I got so annoyed after asking for the reason for this policy, I'm moving my $500/month business account to Verizon Wireless.
Their loss.

I just purchased 2 8 gig iPhones today after waiting for 3 hours in line. Once I got home to activate them I found that I can not use with existing ATT business accounts. They told me that I would have to transfer my business number to a personal account. When I called Apple to return, I was told they would charge me a 10 percent re-stocking fee. Sounds to that ATT is cooking the books forcing existing customers to create new accounts and showing them as new subscribers. Sounds like a class action suit to me.
As well, the Apple Store does not tell you this when you purchase through their stores.
Way to go Steve!

I just went throught the same crapola. I bought the phone, was never told this bit of info and then contacted AT&T. They told me that they have thousands of calls stacked up all for the same reason! What kind of nonsense is this? I have 8 lines on a business account and wanted to switch one line to cover this phone. I think this is worth screaming about ....I tried switching my SIM card from my other phone but got some sort of error message, has anyone else been able to do this???

I am beside myself with anger. I debated getting the iPhone, but wound up getting two; one for me and one for my business partner. Upon arriving home, we discovered that ATT did not recognize the business account. Their customer service had me calling SIX different phone numbers, put me on hold for over TWO hours, with the final result of "That department is closed until Monday". No fun for an impulse purchase! Can the ATT store fix this problem? Who knows! I would like to see them TRY to assess a "restocking" fee!

I'm in the same boat as everyone posting above! This is serious BS! I'm pissed... there are probably thousands of other people out there too like this! I'll seriously whip some ass if they try telling me that the this ipaperweight can't be returned at 100% or if they don't fix this problem! BS!

Same here, wife picked up 2 phones, can't activate it even though I am the primary for my small business account. 10% restocking fee since one is open. BTW, I get no discounts with a business plan, just easier for invoicing for taxes. This is idiotic!

My small business has been an AT&T customer for nearly 15 years. I've never been angrier than Friday night, returning home after a mere 2 hours in line to spend an agonizing 4 hours trying to activate on my business account. Stand in line then wait until Monday, when we'll probably be on hold for another 3 hours?! What about the market for the iPhone doesn't AT&T understand?! I'd love to know the rationale behind this decision. This isn't the new AT&T. This is the OLD AT&T. Sign me up for the class action suit.

Ditto, ditto, ditto. You get the idea. This is a big corp FU. Did the ATT and Apple folks every hear about New Coke? Did Steve Jobs have to remove all his employees from the Apple corp acct with ATT?

The irony about this whole issue is it's the business customers who have been so faithful through AT&T - Cingulair - AT&T. I was mad, but I see all you other people in the same position. You really have to wonder why Apple chose AT&T ... in this day and age, we (customers) choose! Hey Steve! Small business people are the widgets! ... still don't feel any better.

Same experience here, but do almost $20K/month with ATT (formerly Cingular, formerly ATT Wireless). Two hour runaround with no result.
On the other hand, I didn't wait in line either. Walked right in to my Apple store at 7:15 and got two iPhones. Walked out around 7:25 (browsed a little). Even told them I was an ATT Business Account and no warning whatsoever.
But, I did notice that ATT put it in the FAQs. I can't wait to here them argue that you need to read the FAQ on their website before making a purchase IN THE STORE.

Same thing here, bought 2 and after 4 hour line wait and 3 hours on the phone. I've been depressed all weekend.

Have gotten the same run around and questioned they make up responses since they don't ATT understand OS 10 or the operating system. Blackberry on Verizon isn't looking bad. Linux software keeps looking better.

Same here. what kind of phone that a business people can not be use? Look like AT&T JUST WANT TO PISS OFF ALL BUSINESS ACCOUNT CUSTOMER SO THEY CAN GO TO VERIZON INSTEAD.

just got off the phone with at&t. they do suck. what is with the "no business user policy". you can have the account under your personal name and ssc but not under the business name and EIN number. basically, you cannot activate the iphone if your account is a business account. you would have to transfer it to a personal account and figure out how to bill it back to the business. btw, the only thing that at&t does is transfer your account to another account. they are not involve in the activation process.

I too was very disappointed in Apple and AT&T's decision to disclude business customers from the iPhone circle. I waited months for the iPhone (like others) but was never told that my waiting was in vain. I bought an iphone like others and had to find out the hard way that I couldn't use it. Nobody from Apple or AT&T seemed to know the truth, or were rather hiding the truth. Sign me up for the suit as well. Personally, I don't see why business users are being blackballed; they are paying the $500-$600 just like everybody else. This is a move by AT&T to generate new business since they make the money on servicing and Apple makes all the money on the iphone. Oh and thanks for making my purchase decision easier Apple...I'll just go by the Blackberry Curve now and KEEP MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT.

Ditto! Ditto! Ditto! The best way to get even with AT&T and Apple is for someone to actually get in tough with a lawyer to find out if a class action lawsuit can be filed.

I have the same frustrations as all of you... I feel like I went out and bought a brand new car, and the apple store is holding the keys in front of my face... I personally don't care about any lawsuit... I just want to use the iphone under my business account. I think all of us should write the apple website and be heard. If they know how much money they are losing on business accounts they'll make changes for financial reasons.

Yeah I had the same issue as well....I returned the phone to the Apple store and they tried to charge me a fee. Once I explained the situation, they were cool about it and waived the fee.
However--IM pissed, the phone was awesome and I didnt want to return it

what if you are already on a AT&T business account and you buy the there a way to activate? Just pop the sim card in and no one knows you have an iPhone? or is it a new process?

The same thing happened to me. My number is under my husband's business account but they didn't bother to tell me that I could not use the iPhone when I purchased it after waiting in line for hours. I took it home and of course had to open the box to find out. I was LIVID. I took the phone back and when it came time for me to sign for my refund (minus "restocking fees") I told them I wasn't budging until they gave me something in writing stating they sold me the phone knowing full well it was a business account. The manager then made a phone call and credited my account the $60.00 restocking fee and refunded my credit card the cost of the balance of the iPhone and accessories I purchased along with it. Don't let them put the screws to you people. DEMAND your FULL refund. It is NOT YOUR FAULT!

By they way...I also let them know that it ain't cool when you go to the business center on the AT&T web site and go to the phones the iPhone is the FIRST one listed then we business users can't even use the danged thing! That's just a little deceptive don't you think?

I agree with Marilyn, why is it the 1st phone on the buisness page?!?!?
I called ATT today and all the rep did was point the finger at Apple even though it was clearly an ATT policy.
She did tell me that it would be released to buisness customers eventually, but the date is TBA.
AppleInsider also reported this on their website.
I hope when they release it to biz customers that there is a discount of some sort!

Has anyone contacted Apple yet? ATT is hopeless ... I am with all the rest of you, having added one business line after another over the years (now up to 10), endured the changeover from ATT to Cingular and now back to ATT ... their customer service stinks, and now they are shutting out their BEST, most profitable customers by refusing to activate business phone numbers for the Iphone. What difference does it make to them? The devices aren't different - they just want us to have to pay more to set up separate accounts, without access to the pooled business account minutes. We are totally screwed with them, and we need to get Apple to exert their force at ATT. Please advise if anyone is contacting Apple. I will go to their website now to provide feedback.

I called AT&T two days before the release of Iphone to ask all the pertinent ?'s - before dropping 600 big
ones and taking the chance of being disappointed.

I just purchased 5 new phones today and two of them were iphones. I had the employee run my business credit and told him they were all for business use. After showing me all the available phones, my partner and I both decided on the iphone. Nothing was ever said about personal vs. business. We both got home, tried to activate via itunes and were unsuccessful. After talking to AT&T customer service, I am so upset, I can't wait to drive back to that AT&T store in the morning and make a scene with the manager. My business credit is just as perfect as my personal credit. To have to use my personal credit to secure the account is just unheard of. The reason us business owners establish steller credit is so we don't have to personally back any credit transactions. If they try and charge me a restocking fee, I am calling my attorney! I might need to think about charging them for all my time they wasted in purchasing these phones and trying to activate them. Any business owner thinking about buying an iphone or doing business with AT&T, I would highly discourage. I think I am going to cancel all my lines and return all my phones and go to Verizon.

I was really looking forward to simplifing my life and leaving microsoft products. At work I use Windows and at home I'm Mac user. I prefer to use Mac, but it wont talk to my smart phone without a patch that you have to purchase. I have been talking for months with my sales rep about how excited I was about the iphone, but when I went to purchase one, I was told no. No business accounts-absolutly! I got the canned explination and was so disipointed. I mean Apple has'nt let me down this bad since the eighties. I will be more than happy to get the phone on a personal account. I will be even more happy to let the other ten executives and the President of our company know that they must do the same the same. They will be pissed. My guys in the field have been complaining about dropped calls and have been asking me to migrate over to Verison. If we have to start expensing 10 or so phones just so Apple can dictate who can and can not buy them. Maybe it's time for a change. Way to go Steve, you found a way to balance the market instead of control it. I wonder if AT&T will miss the 100K a year we spend on wireless communication. And congratulations on the time machine. I'm a big fan of eighties music.

I'm waiting til year's end to see if any other carriers (T-Mobile? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!) will get the iPhone. From what I hear, ATT/Stinkular just blows donkey you know whats. Plus, an Apple Store grommet told me the other day that Apple and ATT's exclusive iPhone partnering was inked only thru December '07, so I'm holding out.

I've been with Pac Bell, SBC, Cingular and now AT&T for 10 years. I just started a business and they have botched up our account with 10 lines such that we got a bill for $3,000 for one month when they messed up our setup. After that, I had to fight with my partners to keep our phones with them.
When I found out that they weren't letting people buy the iPhones for use with their business accounts, I was devastated. I wanted the phone bad enough that I bought one anyways. (The phone is the coolest thing I've ever seen so it was worth all of it.)
However, after reading these posts, I think the whole thing is a scam. I agree with the other contributors here as AT&T practices here seem to have very unfair intentions. They decided that they could get people to pay for additional lines or accounts, which is unnecessary and greedy.
They ultimately will lose a lot of business within commercial accounts when people get upset and move away from AT&T.
Apple, too, is short-sighted here with this deal as it will severely restrict their ability to penetrate the business world, where it could have captured a lot of Windows users. I hope that they will see this and help to fix the problem.

this was on the iphone front page..I wonder who they are planning on selling this to:
July 12, 2007
“Serious Business Apps Arriving for iPhone”
According to David Needle (, customers of NetSuite’s “on-demand, integrated business management applications” are already using iPhone to take advantage of its web-based services. It was “Apple putting Safari on the iPhone [that] made it a simple process” for the company to extend service to iPhone customers, says Sean Rollings, NetSuite’s senior director of product marketing. Using the built-in Safari browser, says Rollings, “ ‘salespeople will be able to get a lot of their work done on an iPhone. You have the ability to check inventory for the availability of a product and get an answer in real time.’”

UNBELIEVABLE….!!! How can you market a phone with integrated mail at $500 to $600 and think it is used by 12 year old kids???
I specifically told the person in the Apple store that the iPhone was to be used with a corporate account – and that I do not get the bills myself. He said that I would just need the corporate account password when I activated the phone on iTunes….!!!
I am NOT going to return my phone and I am NOT going to get a new number. I guess Apple has made their money but AT&T makes their money with the 2 year contract you have to have (however, when I do not activate it I do not pay AT&T anything….. I just LOVE that and I recommend anyone else to do the same).
If the AT&T person who came up with this “no business accounts allowed” still has a job at AT&T I am surprised…!!!
IF AT&T do not feel that they would make enough money due to the price for the iPhone which is bought at an Apple store (could be that they have to pay Apple $200-300 for each new customer to keep the phones “this cheap”… like all other phones) well just CHARGE $10 - $20 per iPhone connected on a business account….. but do not make it IMPOSSIBLE to use as a business phone…. I really hope that AT&T has got some heat over this.
I am looking forward to the day where AT&T will release this to businesses…. Yet another reason why I will NOT sign for a 2 year contract…… I will rather use it as a paper weight than pay AT&T for conducting business this way!!! Finally, sign me up for the law suit!

I AT&T should start add the iPhone to Business Accounts, Because you know the iPhone is like Blackberry/PDA/Smartphone.

I got my iPhone this wednesday, told the salesperson about the business account and said it would be no problem. Of course, that is not the case so now I have a brick. That, or I get to pay $60 per month for service I already have. I used the comment page for iPhone and informed them I intend to return the phone and will not be paying the 10% restock as I was mislead by the store employee.
I could say this is a colossal error, or point to greed in the wireless marketplace, but its just business as usual. Don't support them and they will have to alter their practices.
They will have to fix this sooner or later or face a class action lawsuit. Something's gotta give

yes so far...any mac - the only thing is theres no you tube and no video voicemail - those have to be unlocked by at and t. (so far) phone and everything works perfectly
email works over wi-fi but not so good over edge. Safari works over edge or wifi. Its not perfect but were moving in the right direction. This is just the first wave of cracks. I am certain in the next few weeks these guys will figure out the rest. Just be patient. It was worth the effort to make calls on the iphone using a business number just to say FU to AT&T

um...i have a few questions
1. how do you use instant messaging, IM? and such
2. is there any faster way to look through your contacts?
thanx. write back :D

I have an iphone that we purchased thru a personal acct. the owner had at the time, now we have moved all of our lines to a business acct. but can't move the iphone because it is already activated; I could use the hack Jordan listed above, but, how do I do it since I already have an activated iphone? I DO have another sim I can use from a line already on the business account, but, what do I do with the line that belongs to Iphone? can i assign that number to another phone and then transfer to business?

cancel the iphone line...go into itunes and back everything up. once you do that hold down the home and the button on the top right for 25 seconds. That will hard reset the iphone back to its original state and then you can do the hack with an alternate sim

when surfing why do i get a black screen and essentially get booted from safari?

This is really starting to piss me off.
I dont understand the reasoning behind this... and im stuck with the shi***** phone in the world why i wait.

there are 2 reasons:
1) AT&T are greedy fucks. They have to pay apple $9 per month for each new iphone customer and they dont want to do that plus discount the line. You know, air is very expensive.
2) They are concerned about being compared to a Blackberry or Windows Mobile device. I have a Blackberry also and as much as the iphone is cool, its a toy compared to the Blackberry. It has 1/10th of the functionality of the Blackberry Curve. But its got crazy icandy which is why everyone wants it. If the interface wasnt so freaking cool - the phone would suck. I mean think about it, no voice dialing, no speed dials, to ADP2 bluetooth support, slow EDGE data, No MMS, No support for corporate email etc. Its awesome but lets be honest, its limited at this time. In the future, who knows it may be better for right now, its not really useful for mobile professionals. That being said, it should be MY choice if I want to deal with its shortcomings, not AT&Ts

i work for at& t...and no there will be no other carriers having the iphone, so too bad. second of all this is not at&t's policy it was an apple stipulation. so blame them!

Sorry, but this is absolutely NOT an Apple decision. This is all ATT.
ATT figures that the overwhelming demand for the iPhone will cause business people to say "f*** it", and just open a new ATT personal account to be able to use the beautiful shiny new iPhone. That way ATT keeps its existing corporate accounts for all those folks, and gets tens of thousands of new personal plans. Those new plans are most likely high-minute plans as well, because business users burn a lot of on-peak minutes.
ATT is benefiting from the huge demand created by Apple...Apple's getting screwed. ATT gets the best of both worlds, but pisses a lot of people off in the process. As soon as there is a hack to unlock the iPhone I'm moving my entire $10,000 per month ATT business account to another provider. F*** ATT!

I have a Cingular (now AT&T) business account with 10 lines, we pay about $1200 / month. 2 of the lines have iPhones (hacked on them). Everything works except visual voicemail and YouTube. It is so ridiculous that AT&T won't let you activate (normally) iPhones on a business account.

still trying to understand how to activate the iphone with a business account. I understand the hack page but how do you actually activate the phone at registration with itunes? Also, what about a data plan? What do I have to sign up for (since AT&T will not allow you to use the iphone with a business acount?

you dont register it with itunes - the hack bypasses the itunes registration. Your business number will work but some of the other functions don't work as of yet but you can make calls and use the ipod.

Thanks for consistent feedback.
I read that the most recent update for the iphone deletes any hacks and third party programs on it. Is this true? Do you download the new itunes programs when they are released? Also, does maps work on the iphone? You mentioned that youtube, yahoo email and visual voicemail don't.
thanks again!

A friend of mine just called and AT&T and swithed his activated iphone over to the business account without a problem. Perhaps they are honoring it now.

so your friend purchased an iPhone, activated it under a consumer account, then was able to switch it back to a corporate account? so his phone plan is now being paid for by his company?
i am just trying to understand because i just called at&t and they said the only way this was possible was if you had a personal account with a business affiliation...which is just a fancy way of saying that the consumer still pays for their own phone bill...
can you possibly give a bit more info on what happened with your friend so we can all possibly do the same?
thanks for your post!

Yep, AT&T not only has sucky customer service, they are anti-competition. So is apple.
PLEASE complain to your state public utilities commission. They are required to actually take complaints into consideration, and could do some rule-making. Copy your state's attorney general, and the FCC, too.
One more thing: there is a law that says all new mobile technology is supposed to be accessible to people with disabilities. There is NO workaround for visually different people on the iPhone. Which really sucks. And it also grounds for a class-action suit.

I went to my AT&T store today to figure out that they can't be added to business plans.
I was beyond pissed.
They would get a lot more business if it was possible for them to add it to a business plan.
Apple has lost my business.

i was all into it when talked about it in January and i wanted and when i finally got my hands on one it
when i tried to activate it, it showed me a message about switching to a personal account.
what the heck apple and at&t you are missing on thousands of customers.

My small business just fell into this nightmare. We just bought two iPhones, attempted to activate them and found out about this ridiculous situation. I am an Apple stockholder, but may not be for long.

look on ebay - there are a lot of sim free iphones available now. Its a little more $ but this way AT&T gets screwed.

Problem solved - I found a great guy on ebay who has the ability to modify the iphone to use with any sim including AT&T business and get all the features besides visual voicemail. I just bought one and everything works flawlwssly. email him at

Bloody ridiculous. I received an iPhone as a prize. Setup was a breeze. BUT, can't use my SIM card (trip to an AT&T store for one) and I'm on 40 minutes and counting with AT&T to convert a chunk of our company plan to a family plan... same minutes, same cost, only now I can activate an iPhone. As a nice bonus, we lose several thousand rollover minutes as part of the conversion.
Why Apple didn't just sell this as an unlocked phone and skip the carrier bureaucracy is mind boggling. This is the most ridiculous set of hurdles yet with AT&T.

I just got my iphone today. I found out about the business thing later. I bet it isn't long until they change it.
If they don't, I am going to throw the phone through the
apple store window and in the girls ass who sold it to me

I am hearing rumblings as of this morning(sept 19) that it will be available via att business channels starting sometime early oct. I hope this turns out to be true as I WILL NOT CONVERT to a personal acct, not only is it a matter of principle but my business is 100% mac only and I will not be punished for operating a small business, after much debate with many other small business/att customers it seems that both apple and att are responsible for this shit and no one seems to really care from either company

I bought mine on ebay hardware and software unlocked - I have the unlocking software - anyone who needs it feel free to contact me
It works with my AT&T biz sim. I use the blackberry during the day for work and switch it to the iphone at night and on weekends. The iphone is really cool but not good if you are on the road for work.

Also don't count on them changing the no biz rule- this is NOT a biz phone. Yes it looks cool and the thing has more Icandy than you can imagine but biz functionality-wise it sucks compared to the blackberry.

OK, I didnt know this yet until just now. Wow.. all I can say... but after reading this I still dont understand the reasoning. What is the benefit for AT&T or Apple?

Where are people hearing that it will be released to business customers in october? Does anyone know if I can buy an unlocked iphone and then if it does become available to business customers can i use that unlocked iphone and relock it and get an iphone account at AT&T?

Astonishing! That word comes to mind after purchasing 3 i-phones from an AT&T company store in Phoenix. The AT&T rep was very helpful in selling the phones changing my service plan to accomodate the i-Phone. I was told to go home and it would be easy to activate the phones. Wrong. The website informed me that my "account" was not available to have an i-phone. Why? Because AT&T and Apple have determined it is in their interest to discrimate against small business. Although I have had a AT&T, then Cingular, now AT&T account for 10 years and stayed with them though serious service problems - they are acting like they don't know me. They want me to open a new account - a new credit check and give them a deposit. AT&T is very stupid given the overall level of customer dissatisfaction and churn in their business. Good-bye.

Just joined the pissed off club ! Damn it! Didn't think ATT could be that stupid. Of course, no mention at the mac store today when i told them I would be using the phone for business travel.
It's October 15 and no change yet. Should I hack or not?
I've been on hold 28 minutes now waiting for a manager to speak to just for my edification.

Pissed off!! I am a teacher so not stupid but I thought I did my homework. I had been reading everything on could in the newspapers and even know one person who bought the iPhone and loves it. My husband, editor for a trade magazine, travels a lot. They have AT&T service and I checked on the website for information. It said as an existing customer, he would only have to pay an additional $20/month. I thought I FINALLY got a PERFECT gift for him--knowing he doesn't need anymore ties.
I couldn't be MORE WRONG. He has spent hours with his IT guy and now has spent another couple of hours with AT&T to only find that he would have to start a NEW personal account for TWO years--a CREDIT CHECK, deposit, etc. He's not a techie. What if it turns out not to be the right phone for him? He would be stuck.
Well, Monday, I return the iPhone. I may have to pay for the re-stocking fee but I am keeping the receipt. Add me to your Class Action Lawsuit. I am super-pissed!
As I said, he is the Executive Editor of a world-wide trade magazine. He is getting the word out to his staff not to purchase an iPhone and I am encouraging him to put a little blurb in his editorial on how Mac & AT&T are out to screw you. Don't fall for their scam!
My question to Mac: "What would it have taken to be honest and put out a disclaimer stating 'Not available for use by AT&T Business customers." They would've saved themselves a lot of customers...and money.
He might not need a tie next year but it sure is worth a laugh--not the headache & grief I've just experienced this year. I will spread the word.

Just went through the same problems with not being able to get the iphone with a business account. Was told today by business account rep that AT&T is currently negotiating with Apple for release of iphone to business account customers. Says it could be in a month or two, but that there are really no guarantees at this point as to if and when it will occur.

Count me as another fool who bought the iPhone to use with a business account. What an unbelievable ordeal I have been through. I did so much research before I bought but missed this one huge issue. I am screwed. My cellphone is used primarily for business and they gladly pay for it at work. Unfortunately, Apple and AT&T just don't want the sale or the account. Looks like re-stock and a Blackberry are in the cards for me this week. Apple sucks.

it's happening tommorrow. I have a small business account. Was able to buy today. Got a print out about being allowed to activate the phone on my commercial acct on 1/21/08.

Tiffy, where did you get this printout, and more importantly, were you able to successfully activate the phone under a biz acct?

Hello apple,
I want to use some payment method in my iphone application, means when user will download my application i'll charge for that, but how can i take payment through user.
Is there any merchant facilities available for iphone application by using that i can charge for my application, please inform me this as soon as possible.

Apple does not want to deal with the security flaws that are currently found in the Iphone. Apple controls the consumer market while RIM Blackberry serves the business marketplace. It will continue to be this way for a long time. Apple never really geared there products towards business people.

The name of the game is personal liability. AT&T and, by proxy, Apple don't want to be out on a limb with fly-by-night companies having fleets of iPhones out there on tenuous contracts without a single name attached to any of them. They can recover from individuals eventually (i.e., destroy their credit for years), but is more costly and ultimately not worth it to go after companies in receivership or ones belly up.
But I think, too, they were really banking on the new personal accounts as well. Both motives stink. Jail breaking is the only answer. Buy your phone overseas (except China) and put it on any SIM in the world. I live in a country without real 3G yet, so the 2G is a perfect phone for me. I purchase 30 hours of Edge airtime per month for 3$ US, and use the phone the rest of the time on Wi-Fi at work and home. I don't think I would buy an iPhone with an exclusive contract, either in the states or overseas.

I have a preview from the Paris Hilton video on my site. To bad it got relased onto the net for everyone to look at. She did not want it to be public as it was her ex Rick Salomon that lost it.