While the interwebs stroke themselves into a furor over rumors that AT&T might just subsidize the iPhone 3G down to $200, Daring Fireball's John Gruber once again asks that he be allowed to retort:

So says one report, using one anonymous source, from Scott Moritz, a “reporter” with an appalling track record regarding Apple and the iPhone. The same Scott Moritz who reported in July last year that Apple had cut back its production order on iPhones based on a “trading note” from Miller Tabak, a note which, it ends up, didn’t actually exist. And, as we know now, Apple went on to sell more iPhones than expected in 2007, not fewer.

Speculation ensues as to whether or not the AT&T exclusivity extends only to the current iPhone, and not the so-called iPhone 3G, and whether or not AT&T may want to take a price hit to keep Apple close. Gruber, however, quickly points out:

This comes so close to uncovering the obvious and glaring problem with a $200 AT&T iPhone subsidy, but, alas, Hesseldahl and his keen economic mind walk right past it. The problem is this: why would Apple allow AT&T to sell iPhones for half the price of what iPhones cost in Apple’s own stores (including this one)?

What do you think?