When Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook took the stage in New York City this morning to announce the Verizon iPhone, one thing immediately popped into my mind: “When will he do this for Sprint and/or T-Mobile?”
Think I’m nuts? As of last July, there were five carriers for the iPhone in Canada, Australia has three, Denmark has three, Singapore has three … well, you get the idea. It is not unheard of for Apple to work with multiple carriers in a country, and not just a measly two.
It was a long road to the Verizon iPhone to be sure, but now what about the other two big carriers in the United States? True, T-Mobile and Sprint are in third and fourth place, but both are heavily working on their next generation networks, and don’t appear to be going away any time soon. In Sprint’s case, you know that lovely CDMA technology Apple had to get into the iPhone to work with Verizon’s network? Well, Sprint is also on CDMA, and even Mr. Cook said today that while the Verizon deal was multi-year, it was non-exclusive, so there is no reason why Apple couldn’t strike a deal with Sprint tomorrow if it wanted to.
And why wouldn’t it? “Oh, Sprint’s network wouldn’t be able to handle it, and it would embarrass Apple.” I’m sorry, but if Apple can survive AT&T’s San Francisco disastrous service and Antennagate, it can survive just about anything tossed at it.
There is an old saying in business about when someone doesn’t make the fullest amount of money they could, they’re “leaving money on the table.” Well, ever since 2007, Apple has been leaving money on the table, and it continues to do so by not just blanketing every carrier in the United States with its popular phone. While people may desire the iPhone, they can also be extremely loyal to their carriers. Many said that when the iPhone was no longer exclusive to AT&T they would pick it up, but what they really meant was, “When the iPhone is no longer exclusive to AT&T … and is on my current carrier … I’ll switch.”
There is still even more marketshare out there to be had, and Apple is going to have to ponder putting the iPhone on every carrier sooner or later because of one very key matter: Android. So long as Android handsets are falling from the sky like rain, and landing on every carrier, the Google OS will continue to grow bigger. If Apple wants to hold on to as much of the market as it can, it’s going to need to be everywhere.
I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next year or so we have another one of these events for another U.S. carrier.
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