Monday, October 19, 2009

End to CDMA iPhone hopes?

Rumors have been extant all year that — after turning down the iPhone back in 2006 — Verizon Wireless was actively negotiating to get the iPhone on its network. (Cynics noted that even the appearance of talking helped both Verizon and Apple against AT&T).

Verizon is locked in a battle for dominance with AT&T, and its ads this month have been making fun of AT&T’s network reliability with a pun (“there’s a map for that”) that also attacks the iPhone.

Now a new ad campaign has the Verizon promoting the Android-based Motorola Droid by attacking the iPhone. As John Murrell of Good Morning Silicon Valley (of the SJ Merc) wrote
This weekend saw the launch of a TV commercial and a Droid teaser site that opens with a scrolling list of direct jabs — “iDon’t have a real keyboard. iDon’t run simultaneous apps. iDon’t take night shots. iDon’t allow open development. iDon’t customize. iDon’t run widgets. iDon’t have interchangeable batteries.” — and finishes with a hard right: “Everything iDon’t, Droid does.”
Murrell suggests:
[T]he direct Droid attack would seem to be more evidence that Verizon has dropped any hopes of landing an iPhone deal itself and has chosen to cast its lot with Google
although he hedges his bets by noting new rumors of Apple/Verizon cooperation on a CDMA/LTE phone.

It’s pretty clear that Apple won’t develop a CDMA version without Verizon. I believe Sprint has too many problems to be a major launch customer, and it’s already put big eggs in the Palm and Android baskets.

Yes, China Telecom and KDDI (in Japan) together have as many subscribers as Verizon Wireless. However, the iPhone demand in those two countries is much weaker than in the US and Western Europe, so if there isn’t a US CDMA iPhone, then there isn’t going to be one.

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