There’s two ways to look at it. Bias from retail-level representatives based on their personal and peer network preferences or indirect influence from elsewhere. A while back, reports indicated Apple was investigating such claims.
The latest in a direct salvo against Macnn.com:
Update: An AT&T representative has issued the following statement to MacNN: “The idea that we would steer any customer away from a particular device couldn’t be more farfetched. Our reps do what it takes to align customer needs with the best device for them. iPhone remains one of our most popular devices, which doesn’t happen by steering people away from it. Our reps are encouraged to try all devices so they are more knowledgeable on our industry-leading smartphone lineup.”
More in this Wall Street Journal report.