What Verizon delivers with their Android phones will definitively indicate whether there’s any chance of a Verizon iPhone for the foreseeable future.
My guess: there isn’t, and the Verizon Android phones will have Verizon’s proprietary content stores spewed all over them with at least one major Android feature locked down or removed at Verizon’s request to preserve their nickel-and-diming model.
I bet Apple did go to them this past spring to attempt to get a Verizon iPhone off the ground, and I bet Apple’s reps left the discussions, thinking, “These guys are nuts.”
But Verizon knows what it wants, and it it definitely doesn’t want to be in the situation AT&T is in today with iPhone owners: reduced to a dumb pipe with very little device branding, no lock-in, no customer loyalty, little to no revenue share from phone-based content sales, and only negative press resulting from the relationship.
As just a few examples of the inherent incompatibility that probably exists between Apple and Verizon, you can bet your ass that Verizon would want some significant concessions:
- A hefty commission (30-50%) on every App Store sale. Apple won’t give theirs up, and they probably won’t want to charge different app prices for different devices, so if this were to happen, they’d probably pass along the anal invasion to developers and only pay out 20-40% of the purchase price.
- A similar arrangement with content sales. Goodbye, iTunes Store profit margins, if the iTunes Store is even available. Because:
- Prominent placement of Verizon’s content storefront apps, possibly replacing Apple’s, without the ability to delete them. (We’d be lucky if they let us move them.)
- Removal of at least one major iPhone feature to force users into a Verizon “premium” version, such as removing the Maps app and requiring separate V-CAST Navigation™ service (whatever it’s called) for $9.99 per month to achieve similar (but worse) functionality.
- Large, tacky Verizon logos on both sides of the phone and all over the home screen.
That’s all assuming, of course, that Verizon hasn’t made any “progress” since their dark days of stripping Bluetooth functionality from Motorola’s flip phones.
But I don’t see any signs whatsoever that anything has changed. Their new “choose our network first, then settle on whichever phone sucks the least” ad campaign sends a clear message: We know we have the best network, we don’t care about devices, and we’re doing just fine this way.