The failure of Apple and Orange to officially announce an iPhone partnership in France has been something of a curiosity for the past couple of weeks.

The respective announcements from O2 UK and T-Mobile Germany came out as and when predicted, but the lack of something official from Orange France has raised a few eyebrows, particularly as Apple Expo in Paris has just been and gone.

Now reports in local newspapers on Friday suggest that Orange and Apple are still working out differences of opinion over the deal. This could be something to do with the operator kickback on iPhone service revenues, estimated to be anything between 20 and 40 per cent. Or, it could be that some intricacies of French law prohibit Orange from selling the phone exclusively.

Whatever the case, it looks less and less likely that France will get the iPhone in time for the Christmas rush. If relations don’t improve, there’s also the outside chance that Orange might not introduce the iPhone at all.