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Verizon Missed the Boat on the First iPhone in 2007
[January 28, 2023]

Verizon Missed the Boat on the First iPhone in 2007

/TMCnetWire/ – In June 2007, Apple Inc. changed the smartphone landscape with the launch of the first iPhone. Apple announced partnerships with AT&T and other carriers around the world to bring the revolutionary device to consumers. However, one large U.S. carrier—Verizon—was noticeably absent. This initially baffling move on Apple's part served as a strategic decision, and one which could have cost Verizon dearly.

When the iPhone arrived in America, Verizon was the largest U.S. mobile network operator. With over 63 million customers it clearly held massive buying power in the market. Furthermore, Verizon had a strong presence in both the consumer and business markets. With such a large and diverse customer base, it's no wonder Apple sought a partnership with Verizon.

But, despite enticing offers, Apple CEO Steve Jobs chose AT&T as its sole partner in the U.S. market. It's speculated that Apple felt AT&T was better placed to market their product to consumers. Also, AT&T's coverage advantageous in providing the iPhone with a 4G data connection.

Apple's decision to forgo a partnership with Verizon in 2007 meant the carrier missed out on the first wave of iPhone sales. Granted, by the time Verizon did eventually acquire the device in early 2011 it had grown from an emerging technology to a fully-fledged phenomenon. But, that first wave of innovation proved to be an astonishing success for Apple and AT&T, who Fortt estimated to have sold 7 million iPhones in the first quarter alone.

The late arrival of the iPhone to Verizon's network led to numerous missed opportunities. Not only could the carrier have capitalised on the growing numbers of users switching to the Apple device, but also the growth of app downloads, music and other digital media, all of which Verizon was now missing out on.

Furthermore, rival carriers such as Sprint, who had also acquired the rights to the iPhone in 2007, took a lead on Verizon in terms of new and returning customers. Such competitive differences became stark as the market grew and Verizon began to miss out on lucrative contracts.

In summary, Apple's decision to partner with AT&T over Verizon in 2007 represented a missed opportunity for Verizon. The carrier had the opportunity to be at the forefront of the smartphone revolution, an opportunity which ultimately passed them by. With the iPhone now an integral part of the digital lifestyle, Verizon may be regretting missing what could have been the beginning of their golden age.

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