The other day, the Wall Street Journal posted a leak of Verizon’s device sales. This leak was fairly unprecedented, in that it allowed for a very fine-grained analysis of how well Verizon is doing in the mobile space, especially compared to their very similar competitor (in size and reach), AT&T.
Mobile guru Horace Dediu has an interesting portrait of Verizon based on these figures. It’s of a company that’s flailing. Verizon has bet big on Android, hoping that it could be a beachfront in the war against Apple and the iOS. But it hasn’t worked out that way; based on the chart, most Android customers have been former Blackberry users. And while overall growth has occurred, it’s been eclipsed by the growth of the iPhone:
By 2009, Verizon was probably optimistic that they could head off AT&T (and Apple) at the pass. With the vast array of vendor Android roadmaps laid out in front of them they saw a way to stem the flood of defections. I think that optimism dissipated sometime this year and was replaced by a more dreadful prospect than what iPhone presented in 2007. It is perhaps coincidental that the rumors of a Verizon deal with Apple seem to have started in earnest right after August. It’s thin, circumstantial evidence, but the only evidence we have to corroborate the data above is that Verizon has been signaling more desperation. Reading further into the data, I would say Verizon faced these problems and decided that they had to throw in the towel. Apple may be the devil, but so could be Google. Apple was predictably evil. But Google? The devil you know is perhaps better than the one you can’t predict.