Earlier this year, analysts suggested if Verizon gained the iPhone, it would hurt the growth of Android as a competitor to Apple’s popular handset. Now comes word from one of the top Apple analysts appearing to confirm that strategy. All talk points to Verizon getting the iPhone in early 2011, a move that will ‘test’ the Google-created operating system in the United States.
“The greatest factor in the success of Android has been Verizon,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told investors Tuesday. “Customers are loyal to their carrier, and once Verizon gets the iPhone, we believe Android’s success in the U.S. will be tested.”
Munster sees the addition of Verizon in the U.S. as correcting the last of Apple’s two mistakes when the iPhone was introduced. By limited the iPhone to AT&T in the U.S., it made American the only country out of 89 where the handset was exclusively available from just one carrier.
“In countries where the iPhone is available on multiple carriers and competes with the Android, we see the iPhone outselling Android. Currently, Android phones outsell iPhones in the U.S., but we believe when Verizon gets the iPhone that trend could be reversed,” Munster said.
Recent headlines put the battle between Apple and Android in even starker terms. Verizon reportedly is willing to accept an AT&-like agreement with Apple, if the carrier’s rivals T-Mobile and Sprint are excluded from the handset. Additionally, new figures suggest Android’s growth is slowing, stabilizing at around 200,000 phones activated per day – a number that has been relatively static since August.