Verizon CEO Kicks iPhone Rumors in the Pants

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Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg shot down rumors that Apple’s iPhone will be coming to his network in the next few months, dashing the hopes of potential customers that have been trying to wish their fantasy into reality. Mr. Seidenberg is hoping Apple will be willing to sign a deal once Verizon’s 4G network is in place, which won’t happen until 2012, according to Yahoo! News.

When asked about the possibility of the iPhone coming to Verizon during a Goldman Sachs investor conference, Mr. Seidenberg replied “I think 4G will accelerate the process, and any other decisions Apple makes would be fine with us. Hopefully, at some point Apple will get with the program.”

Currently, the iPhone is available only on AT&T’s network in the U.S., which uses the GSM cell phone protocol for communication. Verizon’s network is based on the CDMA protocol, which isn’t compatible with GSM networks.

Mr. Seidenberg’s comments don’t fit with rumors and analyst speculation claiming Apple is already working on a Verizon-compatible version of the iPhone. Most recently, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro claimed Apple had already put the wheels in motion for a December manufacturing window and an early 2011 Verizon iPhone 4 launch.

Apple may be waiting for cell service providers to build their 4G networks before branching out beyond GSM-based companies. 4G networks promise faster data speeds, more reliable voice connections, and a more standardized protocol than carriers use today.

While customers may be disappointed by Mr. Seidenberg’s comments, he doesn’t think Verizon is missing out. “We don’t feel like we have an iPhone deficit,” he said. “We would love to carry it when we get there, but we have to earn it.”

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The evidence you need for a mythical, *magical* Verizon iPhone is a significant flurry of web hits from Verizon wireless IP addresses indicating a pattern consistent with OTA usage. My guess is that Facebook and Twitter will probably be the first with the real data. Verizon won’t deploy or even announce the iPhone without significant field testing. There is way too much downside in screwing up that launch, and way too much recent history of Apple doing just that.

Right now, all these rumors are just this analyst or that analyst taking advantage of the attention they can get by reporting some weird data that tingles their divining rods. It’s a nice look at me moment for Jeffrey Fidacaro, but that’s all it is.

Nemo

Mr. Sidenberg’s comments are ambiguous.  One would have hoped that one of the reporters in the audience would have asked the precise questions to clear up the ambiguity.  Does Mr. Sidenberg’s hope for an iPhone on Verizon’s 4G network mean that there is no deal in place for a CDMA iPhone on Verizon’s network this year or early next?  Does it mean that Verizon and Apple are close to a deal on the iPhone for Verizon’s 4G LTE network?  Or does it mean one of the other possible but unlikely inferences? 

Mr. Sidenberg’s statements could mean any of those things, but it probably doesn’t, because of the laws on securities fraud.  Securities Fraud occurs when an agent or employee of a publicly traded company, who has authority to speak for the company, omits a material statement of fact, or makes a material statement of fact that is false or misleading, and the putative plaintiff trades on the basis of that omission or false or misleading statement and suffers losses.  It seems a reasonable interpretation of Mr. Sidenberg’s statement that there will be no iPhone on Verizon’s CDMA network this year or next.  If Mr. Sidenberg meant something different, he would be getting perilously close to line of committing securities fraud and arguably crossed that line, if Verizon does in fact have a deal in place for the iPhone.  People will trade shares of Apple, Verizon, and/or AT&T based on Mr. Sidenberg’s statement, and if that statement is deemed to be false or misleading, those who lose money on those trades may have case. 

So I think we can take Mr. Sidenberg’s statement at their most probable inference, that there will be no iPhone for Verizon this year or next and not likely until Verizon has sufficiently deployed its LTE 4G network to provide good nationwide coverage. Still, I wish a journalist had been able to nail down a more precise statement from Mr. Sidenberg.

Steve W

“Hopefully, at some point Apple will get with the program.”

Nothing ambiguous about that! Apple doesn’t want to agree to Verizon’s terms; and Verizon doesn’t plan to relent, either.

?I think 4G will accelerate the process…”

?We would love to carry it when we get there, but we have to earn it.?

He thinks an agreement will be reached after Verizon implements 4G. Good luck with that!

b0wz3r

Apple should make them kiss their collective a$$e$, after first pulling their heads out…

Verizon does nothing but spread blatant lies about the iPhone and then talks out of the other side of their mouths about how they ‘would love to carry it’?  Talk about two faced…

They can go suck wind; I’d rather live with AT&T than deal with their hypocrisy and customers are sheep to be shorn attitude.

Nemo

I’ve always thought that Steve Jobs and Ivan Sidenberg wouldn’t be able to get to a deal to either Verizon had won or lost against the iPhone with Android.  Well, it seems that there is no clear victory or defeat.  Android is doing very well; the iPhone is doing very well.  So neither Ivan or Steve has to yield to the other’s key demands.  For Verizon the demands are probably paying Android-like subsidies for the iPhone; having a considerable degree of control over the design and features of iOS devices’ hardware, software, and certain apps, as it does now have with Android phones; at least a Verizon app store along with the App Store; and co-branding.  Apple wants a subsidy that recognizes that user’s of experience the iPhone find it to be far superior to any other phone; the freedom to design its iOS devices as it believes will provide a great and the best user’s experience; exclusive Apple branding and support; and apps exclusively from the App Store.  Since neither side has achieved victory, neither will accede to the other’s demands, which means we go on to Round 2:  The battle of the 4G smartphones.

I think it more likely that T-Mobile or Sprint, if Sprint deploys LTE 4G, will get the iPhone before Verizon, as either of those companies are likely to be more amenable to Apple’s approach.  But we will see.

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