Verizon and the iPhone
As you already know, the iPhone has an exclusive deal with AT&T in the U.S. Nobody in the public knows when this exclusivity deal ends, at which point Apple would be able to bring the iPhone to other U.S. carriers such as Verizon or Sprint.
There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that the iPhone will someday be available on both Verizon’s and Sprint’s networks, because if you go to Apple’s Job Opportunities website and search for “CDMA” (which is the cellular technology that Sprint and Verizon use), you will see an increasing list of engineering job openings at Apple that are currently available.
But here’s the interesting thing that most people DON’T know: Apple approached Verizon *FIRST* when creating the iPhone and asked Verizon if THEY wanted to be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone. And are you ready for this? Verizon turned Apple down. They scoffed at Apple. Their bull-headed executives refused to see the value in the iPhone, because they had a problem with several things that Apple wanted. Here are a few of those things:
- Apple wanted a small percentage of the subscribers’ monthly fees in exchange for Apple putting all of their marketing muscle behind the iPhone
- Apple wanted the iPhone to be able to connect to WiFi networks so you can browse the Internet at high speeds wherever you have access to a wireless network. Verizon, however, doesn’t allow WiFi on ANY of their phones, including the new touchscreen Blackberry Storm (more on the Storm below), because Verizon wants to profit from all the Internet fees that they charge from using their network to surf the Internet. Verizon doesn’t care about its customers’ needs and desires… it only cares about its own pocketbook.
- Apple wanted Verizon to make some small changes to their network so that “visual voicemail” would be available to their customers. “Visual voicemail” is the #1 best invention to come to phones since the invention of voicemail itself! It lets you visually see your voicemails like email messages, choose whichever voicemail you want to play in any order, and fast forward/rewind your messages like a song on your iPod. Verizon, again showing that it doesn’t care about ease-of-use for its customers either, said that they’d rather not provide this to their customers.
- Apple wanted to control distribution and customer service for the iPhone, but Verizon said no.
- (Updated October 2009) We now know that Apple wanted to build their own app store for the iPhone, but Verizon also said no.
So now that the iPhone is the #1 selling smartphone in the U.S., what is Verizon’s competitive strategy until they finally get the iPhone for themselves?
Check out this quote from Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg on how he plans on competing with Apple:
This guy’s strategy is waiting for — and wishing for — the old age of Steve Jobs?
What an ungrateful, disrespectful, and ineffective ass.
Not only did Steve Jobs approach him FIRST and he said NO, but without Steve Jobs, the ENTIRE technology world — including cell phones — would be in the complete dark ages right now. Seidenberg should be kissing the ground that Steve Jobs walks on, to thank him for pushing technology ahead so boldly for so many years. We saw practically NO innovation (or ease-of-use) in the cell phone industry until the iPhone hit the market, and now suddenly, everybody has a copycat touchscreen device that they’re hawking to unsuspecting customers. Buyer, beware, however… these other products are pieces of crap, to put it kindly. For example, check out these reviews and news stories about the Blackberry Storm, Blackberry’s first foray into touchscreen devices and Verizon’s current answer to the iPhone.
But this is nothing new for Apple. Apple has always been the innovation leader in the technology world. Everybody else always tries — and fails — to copy Apple.
In fact, during the time from 1985 to 1998 when Steve Jobs was unceremoniously kicked out of Apple, we humans entered the darkest time ever in technology history, when there were practically no new technological inventions on computers outside of CD burning and zip drives. In fact, if you look closely at the history of computers, every important technological invention that made a difference in the world has originated at or been popularized first by Apple… then everyone else in the industry scrambled to catch up to Apple. These include:
- The first graphical user interface
- The first mouse to be used by consumers
- The first trackpad on a laptop instead of a trackball
- The first handheld mobile computing device (The Apple Newton — this was a breakthrough product, 7 years before the first Palm Pilot)
- The first digital camera (Apple QuickTake)
- The first computers with wireless WIFI ability. That’s right — Apple was the first with this, over 2 years before any PC’s had this feature!
- The first all-in-one computer: the original Mac, and then revived with the iMac
- USB. USB was a floundering technology destined for the dustbin until Apple decided to make it the one and only port type on the first iMac.
- FireWire. created and invented by Apple
- Mac OS X — an operating system which Windows users can only dream of. It is rock solid stable, has no viruses, no crashes, it is easy to use, and it is built on UNIX.
- Bluetooth. Again, this didn’t become the de facto standard until Apple brought it to their Macs.
- The iPod. MP3 players were a tiny little niche market filled with devices with tortured user interfaces, horrible design, and low capacity. That all changed with the iPod.
- The iTunes Music Store. Apple figured out a way to make consumers pay for their music again. By making it SIMPLE and FAIRLY-PRICED, against the ongoing wishes of the recording industry to gouge the consumer.
- The iPhone. The first multi-touch, user-friendly phone that anybody can learn to use in less than 5 minutes.
- MULTITOUCH capability (on the iPhone and all of Apple’s laptops) – this is different then regular “touch” capability, which doesn’t recognize multiple fingers simultaneously.
- I could go on and on for pages. This list is just scratching the surface.
And most of all, Apple still has the one thing that competitors have never been able to copy: EASE OF USE. Apple’s products JUST WORK. And they’re EASY TO USE. I feel that Apple is the only U.S. company that delivers on its promise to consumers: to deliver the greatest and easiest-to-use technology products in the world.