Verizon Still Wants the iPhone (Despite those Droid Ads)

Despite a recent slew of negative ads dissing the Apple iPhone in support of Verizon’s new Android-based device, Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg told investors on its earnings call today that the company still covets the iPhone.

“This is a decision that is exclusively in Apple’s court,” said Seidenberg. “We obviously would be interested in any point in the future they thought it would make sense for them to have us as a partner. And so we’ll leave it with them on that score.”

This statement jives with my feeling that Verizon’s embrace of the Google Android operating system is just as much a negotiating tactic as a hedge against the iPhone.

Without the iPhone, a game-changing devices that is the world’s single hottest smart phone, Verizon is pursuing a sort of spread-your-bets strategy in which they offer a whole range of new devices, including most importantly a series of Blackberry handsets.

For example, Verizon this week is launching the Storm 2, an updated version of the first touchscreen Blackberry, which is getting much better reviews than the first one. And the Motorola Droid, a super-thin phone that uses Google’s Android operating system, will be unveiled on Wednesday.

“We have expanded our base of other devices,” explained Seidenberg. “So our view is to broaden the base of choice for customers and hopefully along the way, Apple as well as others will decide to jump on the bandwagon.”

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