We keep hearing rumors about iPhone on Verizon but at the same time Verizon is doing gangbusters with their Android-powered Droid line, and running roughshod over Google to do it in a way they'd never be able to with Apple. So what if they took the next illogical step and just forked Android and made their own Verizon (or Droid) OS?
Right now Google still has some control -- they can deny Google apps like Gmail and Market to handsets that don't meet their nebulous criteria for a "with Google" phone. (That they're not already doing that to protect customers from Verizon is disheartening to say the least). But Verizon could take even that little leverage away from them.
Verizon will soon be offering their own app store and API's, maybe to replace Android Market. (Lest we forget, they also deny Palm Pre on Verizon access to aGPS, forcing anything outside the official Verizon Navigation app to use the slower, unassisted GPS option). And what if they don't stop there? What if they go full tilt into a fork of the Android OS all their own. A fragmented, totally independent, wholly proprietary Verizon Droid OS with it's own set of API and Market that would only work on Verizon. And it could have Bing. And it could have Hotmail. Locked down. (Or it could have whatever the highest bidder gives Verizon, customers be damned.)
Right now if you have an unlocked iPhone on one GSM carrier (something increasingly common outside the US) and you move to another carrier, all your apps come with you (and they come to your iPad or iPod touch as well). And you have Google Search, Gmail, and Google Maps working great on them, with easy access to Bing or Hotmail or Yahoo! or MobileMe or Exchange or whatever you want. If you have a future Moto or Samsung Droid OS device on Verizon, using Verizon API, could you move to a more openy T-Mobile or Sprint "Google Experience" device? Would you lose all your apps? You V-services?
Once again, Apple almost totally disintermediated the carriers with the iPhone. Given past and present history, what seems more likely -- for Verizon to cave to Apple and offer a pristine iPhone experience on their network, or for them to tell Apple to get lost and stick with Android, an incredibly powerful, modern OS that's been given to them on a silver platter?
There's a chance an iPhone on Verizon would make great gobs of money enough they'd release it anyway, but I'm thinking the nightmare scenario above is becoming increasingly more likely.