A new analyst report shows an alarming drop in Verizon's smartphone sales beginning last summer, just as iPhone 4 sales took off, and all Verizon smartphone sales severely lagging the iPhone. The numbers, which got big play on Fortune
and the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital
site, may indicate why Verizon is now ready to play ball with Apple, after years of turning them down.
ITG Investment Research analyst Matthew Goodman's report underscored the well-known fact that Verizon has bet heavily on Android, showing that handsets based on Google's OS made up 80% of smartphone sales last month, with 46% of them being Motorola Droids. As recently as two years ago, RIM was bragging about how the BlackBerry was Verizon's best-selling device, but now they're below 20% at the largest US carrier. These numbers - which are apparently based on independent retailer reports and are not a leak
as was initially reported - were also looked over by Horace Dediu at asymco,
who uncovered another interesting trend. In the third quarter of this year, AT&T not only sold more iPhones than Verizon sold smartphones from every manufacturer, it also outsold them by a factor of nearly two to one.
Fewer than 3 million smartphones of any kind were activated on Verizon in the third quarter, while AT&T activated more than 5 million iPhones.
This fact, probably more than any other reason, may have led Verizon to drop its hard-line stance and begin negotiating in earnest. According to most reports, Verizon came to the table in August of this year, right as smartphone sales began their tumble. A recent study
indicates that Verizon may double its smartphone sales by bringing the iPhone on board. Since the carriers make their money in service fees, not handset sales, this would represent significant income for years.