Will Verizon Droid Force Apple's Hand On Verizon iPhone?


Is a Verizon iPhone going to happen or not? According to Verizon's chief executive, the decision is up to Apple.

Verizon and Motorola's forthcoming Droid phone is poised to be a challenger to Apple and Apple's iPhone dominance, and at the very least will be the most high-profile phone to make use of Google's Android OS so far.

Where that leaves the possibility of a Verizon-carried iPhone is the subject of much debate. Verizon has been attacking iPhone with cryptic "iDon't" Droid ads on television and in print, and Verizon has also been calling out AT&T with a series of commercials that use the phrase "there's a map for that" to suggest Verizon has much better national coverage than its rival.

And yet, it appears that any decision to press forward on a Verizon-carried iPhone will come from Apple. Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said as much during Verizon's third quarter earnings call Monday.

"We obviously would be interested at any point in the future they thought it would make sense for them to have us as a partner. What they have done has been successful, so we have to sit back and give them credit for that," said Seidenberg during the Monday call, saying that the decision on a Verizon iPhone is "exclusively in Apple's court."

For the quarter, Verizon reported $27.7 billion in revenue -- a 10.2 percent increase compared to a year earlier -- although its profits declined by 9 percent, to $2.89 billion, for the same period.

Verizon also said Verizon Wireless added 1.2 million new subscribers during the quarter, although that number paled in comparison to the 2 million rival AT&T added during its most recent fiscal quarter.

All eyes are on AT&T's exclusive U.S. iPhone contract, especially since AT&T recently lost exclusivity with the iPhone in both Canada and the U.K.

Verizon has been previously mentioned as the most likely carrier if Apple decides to expand the iPhone's contracted telcos.

The iPhone continues to gain traction in both the U.S. and around the world. According to a recent study by ChangeWave Research released Tuesday, iPhone's share of the U.S. smartphone market has reached about 30 percent, compared to Research In Motion's BlackBerry, at 40 percent, and Palm's Pre, at 7 percent.

ChangeWave also polled more than 4,200 consumers about their smartphone habits, with 74 percent saying they were "very satisfied" with their iPhones.