updated 09:15 am EDT, Wed June 30, 2010
Oppenheimer says Verizon iPhone could hurt Google
An actual iPhone for Verizon could have a major impact not only on Apple but on Google, Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner said on Wednesday. He estimated that at least 12 million current customers could get iPhones if they reach the network next year. The gain could add $7 billion in revenue by itself.
More important to Apple, however, would be the effect on competitors. Launching an iPhone on Verizon would negate one of Google's key advantages, as customers who previously would rather buy Android devices than switch carriers would go for Apple's device instead, according to Reiner. UBS analyst Maynard Um said Droid X creator Motorola, as well as RIM, could also be affected as they would no longer have safety for those who refuse to use AT&T.
Reiner, meanwhile, raised the widely circulated belief that AT&T's decision to allow upgrade pricing for all 2010-eligible customers was a direct reaction to the prospects of a Verizon iPhone an an attempt to lock customers into contracts, which would then be difficult to exit through newly raised early termination fees. The decision suggested to the analyst that AT&T might be aware its exclusivity was ending soon, but he added that just the threat of its iPhone exclusive ending was "motivation enough" to take radical steps. [via Fortune]