ATT is the exclusive partner to sell the iPhone in the US. To give some perspective, 1.2 million new subscribers were added by Verizon Wireless (VW). It's a good feat. That is 200,000 more users than the 1 million expected; 20% MORE THAN ANYONE EXPECTED.
Now, think 1.3 million. That is the number of new iPhone subscribers that ATT gained and ATT gained 3.2 million new users in the last quarter. someone smarter than I am ought to look into the non-iPhone users and see what kind of halo-effect Apple's mobile device had in helping ATT achieve this feat in the midst of a recession.
Imagine the effect it would have had on VW's numbers had VW had the iPhone in its arsenal. For that matter, Sprint and T-Mobile as well.
Plus, time and time again, I've expected new products from Apple's rivals to dethrone the iPhone. First it was the new Blackberries from RIM. You know, the whole thing about the iPhone not having a physical keyboard and all. I kind of bought that argument. Well, that didn't work out. RIM is still the top dog in the smartphone market but the iPhone is cleaning RIM's clock.
Then the Storm came out. What a disaster that was. And now, Storm 2, which VW isn't giving a lot of hoopla it did last year, will be out this Wednesday. Does it looking promising? It might keep Apple on its toes but nothing more.
And then there was the Pre. I thought "this is the one". Well, it went from $299 to $99 at Best Buy (at times) and while it has helped Palm's bottomline, it didn't not solidify Palm's comeback in the mobile arena as I had hoped.
Then there's Microsoft's Windows Mobi...ah, I'm not going to be there.
How about the G1? Right. There was a report out last week that collectively, Android will be the number two mobile platform in a few years. I think it'll be more like number one eventually. But so far, Android devices have been great but they're still no iPhones.
Now, VW is teaming up with Motorola with the Droid. Can this stunt the iPhone momentum? A year ago, six months ago, I might have said it has a good chance of doing just that. Today? I am not so sure.
While many smartphones and mobile devices can do more than the iPhone (such as apps running in the background) the iPhone ecosystem is something that has yet to be duplicated and Apple competitors will have issues dealing with it.
Collectively, the Symbian, Blackberry OS, and Android will likely be at the top in terms of market-share but the iPhone will continue to be the disrupting factor in the mobile market. And this is why VW needs the iPhone.
And for the same reason, last week, ATT CEO prepared analysts for the day when ATT will cease to become the exclusive iPhone seller.