In recent weeks, rumors surrounding the release of a Verizon Wireless CDMA-based iPhone 4 have been in abundance. Even flagship news publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal made headlines when they confirmed the launch of a Verizon iPhone 4 early next year.
Now Fortune has shared its voice concerning the long-awaited Verizon iPhone 4 in a profile of Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg published today, in which it looks at the relationship between Apple and the wireless carrier.
The next step, the iPhone, remains shrouded in secrecy, and neither company will discuss it. But people familiar with its development say it is a fait accompli. Verizon, sources say, will sell its own version of the iPhone 4, which will work on Verizon’s CDMA-based 3G network. Unfortunately for globe trotters, the first version of the phone likely won’t be built to work outside the U.S. — it probably won’t carry a special chip that can turn it into a “world phone.”
The article describes how Verizon declined the opportunity to be the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States back in 2005. The level of control insisted upon by Apple, and the demands for revenue sharing from customer’s monthly fees, influenced Verizon to turn down a partnership with Apple.
The Cupertino giant then joined forces with AT&T and negotiations with Verizon ceased until early 2007, after the iPhone was announced but before it had been released.
Seidenberg broke the silence. In the spring of 2007, months before the iPhone launch, he secured an audience with Jobs at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and asked, “Why are we in your doghouse here?” It turns out that for all of Verizon’s concerns about ceding control and sharing fees, Apple was wary of building a device for Verizon’s CDMA network because it didn’t use technology that allowed a phone to seamlessly operate around the world, as AT&T’s network does.
Seidenberg and Jobs continued to hold meetings in the following months, and Apple began to see things from a Verizon perspective in late 2007, just as AT&T began receiving criticism for its poor network performance and its struggle to cope with excessive data consumption of the iPhone on its network.
Three years on the two companies have finally made a deal on another Apple device – the iPad – and as Verizon offer the touchscreen tablet through its retail stores, it looks promising that the hugely popular iPhone will follow suit.