Why Lack of a Verizon iPhone Is Hurting Apple

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Why Lack of a Verizon iPhone Is Hurting Apple

by Clint Boulton

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Apple iPhone Prospers on AT&T, But Lost Verizon Opportunity

Nielsen claims Apple's iPhone smartphone market share was 28 percent through the first quarter of 2010, more than tripling the 9 percent share garnered by Google's Android platform. That's all from Apple's relationship with AT&T. Had the iPhone been on Verizon for the last three years, its market share could well be double what it is today. It should be pointed out that Verizon initially turned down Apple. Even so, comScore statistics culled by the Journal indicate Android is helping Android gain share.

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Android Rising

The Journal noted that since introducing the popular Android-based Motorola Droid and the Droid Incredible, Verizon has watched its share of the U.S. smartphone market rise about a percentage point, to 24.1 percent through the end of March.

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Meanwhile, Back at the iPhone Ranch

While Verizon gained a percentage point, AT&T's smartphone share fell nearly four points to 41.9 percent, comScore claimed.

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Verizon to Keep Focus on Google

Verizon executives will admit to craving the iPhone on the leading wireless network in the United States, but they told the Journal Plan B is to keep up its work with the Android platform. Apple doesn't want Verizon getting too cozy with Android or, for that matter, Google.

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Verizon Is No. 1

During the three-month period ending in April, Verizon led the market with 31.1 percent of mobile subscribers, comScore found. AT&T ranked second with 25.2 percent market share. Verizon looks like fertile ground for the iPhone if it can get on there.

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Moreover, the Journal noted that more Verizon Wireless customers are buying smartphones, even though only 16 percent of its customers over 13 currently carry them, compared with 33 percent of AT&T's, comScore stats show. Again, that is a precious cycle renewal opportunity Apple is missing with the iPhone.

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Missed Opportunity

Apple CEO Steve Jobs just unveiled iPhone 4 at his Apple Worldwide Developers Conference June 7. While many expected him to announce it for the Verizon network, Jobs disappointed the crowd. The iPhone 4 is coming to AT&T June 24, but not on Verizon. This is a serious missed opportunity.

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The End of iPhone Envy

Verizon customers want the iPhone. When Jobs experienced a glitch showing an application at the conference, someone yelled out, "Verizon!" This was a weak joke, but there is some truth to sentiment. Verizon customers who saw how cool the iPhone looked used to gaze at their AT&T buddies with iPhone envy. That is, until Android devices such as the Droid line came along. Moreover, while the iPhone sells itself, think of the marketing Verizon can put into the iPhone 4. It worked for the Droid, which got top billing in Times Square last fall.

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Is It Too Late for a Verizon iPhone?

The gulf between Apple and Verizon goes wider than smartphones. Verizon is also already developing an Android-based tablet with Google, and other Android smartphones are slated for release this year. The Journal quoted Verizon CFO John Killian, who told investors last month: "We are going to do as well as if we had the iPhone."

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What About the iPad?

Of course, with Verizon building an Android tablet with Google, that begs the question: What about the iPad on Verizon? With 2 million units shipped,, some equipped with AT&T's 3G network capabilities, it seems this is another missed opportunity for Apple and Verizon.

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