Aharonov-Bohm mesoscopic solid-state interferometers yield a conductance which contains a term cos(phi+beta), where phi relates to the magnetic flux. Experiments with a quantum dot on one of the interfering paths aim to relate beta to the dot's intrinsic Friedel transmission phase alpha(1). For closed systems, which conserve the electron current (unitarity), the Onsager relation requires that beta = 0 or pi. For open systems, we show that in general beta depends on the details of the broken unitarity. Although it gives information on the resonances of the dot, beta is generally not equal to alpha(1). A direct relation between beta and alpha(1) requires specific ways of opening the system, which are discussed.