Breaking News: iPhone NOT Headed to Verizon Print



It's been widely reported (most notably by John Gruber) that Apple will begin selling iPhones through Verizon sometime early in 2011, most likely announced in January at CES

This isn't going to happen.  Sorry to burst the bubble of every tight-jeaned fanboy out there suffering from chronic coverage envy, but it's just not.  Here's why...

Verizon and Apple have to be the most doomed great idea since Time-Warner met AOL.  In the case of Verizon and Apple, they would both need to give up their precious if they were to take the jump. 

Follow me here for a minute.  Verizon is known for excellent coverage, no doubt.  But they are also known for milking their customers for everything.  Ring tones, tethering, GPS, file sharing -- everything.  Control is important to Verizon, and they know how to do it right.  Take for example how they've been shaking up the Android world lately.  They've carved Google out of the search picture on their Android devices and replaced them with Bing.  Care to guess whether that move generated any revenue for Verizon?  Most recently they announced that they will not be using the Android market either, opting instead sell Android apps on their VCast market.  Control, control, control.  Verizon customers have always hated it, but not enough to leave the big red map.

Now consider Apple.  Can you imagine Apple agreeing to let Verizon customers purchase apps, music, video content and the like from anything but iTunes?  Not in a million years.  Perhaps a better way to say it would be "not in two billion dollars".  Apple has just as many control issues as Verizon.  What's more, Apple has gotten used to dealing with carriers from a position of strength.  For all of the self-righteous eye rolling and rabbit ears that Apple gives AT&T, they've trained that carrier well.  Verizon, on the other hand, is a pitcher not a catcher.

The one thing that might entice Apple to get in bed with Verizon is market share.  According to Gartner, Apple's market share is going to dwindle noticeably over the next five years, and Verizon's 100 million users might help to change that.  Granted, Gartner also predicted a tsunami of Windows Mobile devices taking over the world, but the general consensus is that going forward Android is going to wax while Apple is going to wane.

But even market share isn't a clear win for Apple on Verizon.  Verizon is pushing Android hard, and in ways that they are unlikely to back down from.  Apple would have to be a peer in the Verizon portfolio of phones rather than the one cool kid.

I can't see it.  We all know that Apple is nothing if not cool.