The Wall Street Journal has updated their article from yesterday and made it 100% crystal clear that they're not talking about some random CDMA iPhone but an iPhone for Verizon's CDMA network. If they're right, it's done folks. AT&T exclusivity is over.
Verizon Wireless has been meeting with Apple, adding capacity and testing its networks to prepare for the heavy data load by iPhone users, according to one person familiar with the matter. The carrier is seeking to avoid the kind of public-relations hit that AT&T took when the boom in data-hungry iPhones overtaxed its network, especially in New York and San Francisco.
iPhone-on-Verizon users, however, would be even more eager to avoid locked down search, bloatware, locked down aGPS, Verizon app stores, etc. And if Verizon even hints at putting iPhone on BOGO Steve Jobs will be reaching for his ninja stars faster than you can say "Whoosh!"
That's where it goes back to what TiPb has been writing about all along -- the technology is in place, it's the Apple/Verizon deal that's the hold up. It's something they couldn't do in 2007 when Apple was an unknown in mobile and Verizon wanted to own the music store, and now that Apple has a hit phone and Verizon has the Droid line, what gets it done in 2010?
With Android, Google has given Verizon a platform powerful and far more malleable than than iOS will ever be, and that would seem to make them far less likely to bend in face of Apple's desire to own the end-user experience. It's why I still think it's possible Verizon will roll their own, Android-derived V-OS -- or just make a UI like Sprint ID -- in the future.
If the iPhone on Verizon deal is done as WSJ suggests, it's one of three ways:
- Verizon has insisted on doing with iPhone what they've done with Android, Palm, and pretty much every other smartphone they've ever gotten their claws on, and Apple blinked.
- Apple told Verizon they're selling the phone as-is, just like the AT&T iPhone but with a different radio, and Verizon blinked.
- A compromise was reached, similar to Apple holding back on MMS and Tethering for AT&T or removing Wi-Fi from the original China Unicom iPhone, and they both blinked... a little.
Option 3 seems the most likely, an iPhone as we all know and love it with a few concessions to make Verizon happy. As a consumer I'm hoping Apple stands up to Verizon as they've stood up to past carriers, and Verizon users get the same iPhone pretty much everyone else has.
iPhone as-is makes tons of money for Apple and AT&T. It'll make tons of money for Verizon too. Hopefully that's the bottom line here.