A French law that requires mobile phones to be sold both with and without a contract could delay or even kill the launch of the Apple iPhone in France.

Apple has teamed up with Orange to offer the iPhone to mobile buyers in France. A key part of that deal is a revenue-sharing agreement that sees Apple get a substantial wedge of the cash. By forcing Apple to sell the iPhone contract-free, the French law would substantially cut Apple's profits, which could force it to postpone or even cancel the launch.

Of course if Apple goes on to sell the iPhone in France contract-free, you may be hard pushed to get a seat on a ferry, train or plane for several months as would-be buyers flock there to snap one up.