ZDNet has an article about how, because of the iPhone, “rivals have to generate some kind of cool factor.” And the uncoolest of them all? Verizon. The article’s author, Larry Dignan, gives three examples of Verizon’s recent shift in strategy.
1. According to a Wall Street Journal report, “Verizon Wireless is in advanced talks with Google about using the search giant’s mobile operating system for its handsets.” The operating system is open source, which will theoretically allow Verizon to offer less expensive phones and it’ll give Google access to a large user base and, in turn, serve up more ads.
2. Verizon has all of a sudden “dropped its complaints about the FCC’s rules over the upcoming 700 MHz auction.” While the Wall Street Journal has been unable to connect Verizon’s change of heart to its talks with Google, this could be seen as a sign that Verizon has decided that it’s “better to play ball than fight the inevitable freeing of wireless phones.”
3. Verizon’s gotten a bit more aggressive with their phone lineup by releasing somewhat-exciting handsets like the BlackBerry Pearl, Juke, Venus, and Voyager.
Dignan goes on to note that…
“These developments are quite a sea change for Verizon Wireless . Among wireless carriers the innovators on phones and new technology have been T-Mobile and Sprint. There’s a good reason for that: Both are smaller than AT&T and Verizon Wireless and need to roll the dice to get bigger.”
I think this is a good move on Verizon’s part and, let’s face it, its only other choice is to go it alone. AT&T probably isn’t going to hop on the Google bandwagon any time soon and Sprint and T-Mobile both look like they’d welcome a partnership with Google, according to the above-referenced Wall Street Journal article. If Verizon were the odd man out, it’d basically have to whip up a very stellar team of software developers and start carrying some bleeding-edge hardware to stay competitive.