Monday, January 29, 2007

Verizon Said Nyet to iPhone?

In my 8 previous postings to this blog, I’ve thus far resisted the temptation to mention the word “iPhone.” That’s remarkable because my private commentary on the iPhone announcement (via e-mail to friends) was the impetus that convinced me I had something to say in a blog. This week I’m at a conference, so my take on the iPhone will have to wait another week or two.

Because I’m staying in a hotel, I happened to see USA Today this morning, and, in particular, the article “Verizon rejected Apple iPhone deal.” It’s obviously a Verizon leak, spun to explain to shareholders why AT&T (née Cingular) has an exclusive on the hottest vaporware of the year. Given that Cingular claimed a few weeks ago that they “made Apple bend” — a claim rejected as implausible by professional Apple-watchers — I don’t know who to believe.

Today’s report claims that Apple wanted Verizon to

  • exclude mass market retailers
  • let it control hardware support and returns
  • share an ongoing revenue stream from the phone
The latter is an interesting wrinkle on the mobile phone business model that potentially would change the relationships within the industry. Certainly it’s in the opposite direction from Vodafone’s vision for a future of commoditized cell phones.

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