Who wins if the iPhone comes to Verizon?
Apple will, obviously. So will Verizon Wireless. The losers? Research In Motion, AT&T and Motorola, for starters.
This sets off a daily chain of opportunities and threats for everyone in the mobile telephone business. Here's what we mean.
It's potentially very good news for Verizon, which was the leader among the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) today.
Being a top Dow stock was a dubious achievement today. All of the Dow stocks were lower as the Dow fell 268 points. Verizon was down 0.3% to $28.62.
Apple was off 4.5% to $256.17, the biggest contributor to a tech sell-off.
This is not good news for AT&T (T), which has had an exclusive deal to put the iPhone on its network and has found that the iPhone puts enormous demands on it, particularly in New York and San Francisco. So, to keep customers from rushing over to Verizon, it will have to ensure that the network works.
Verizon customers, who numbered 92.8 million at the end of the first quarter, may buy 3 million iPhones a quarter, UBS analyst John Hodulik told Bloomberg News, which broke the story. Spokesmen for Apple, Verizon and AT&T had no comment.
"The fact is, Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends," said Hodulik, who rates Verizon shares "neutral." "It’s hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T has faced."
The news is potentially just plain terrible for Research In Motion (RIMM), which makes the BlackBerry and is getting heavily pressured from the iPhone and needs a product to counteract the hype over the iPhone 4.
AT&T was off 2% to $24.46. Research In Motion was off 6.1% to $49.75, a 52-week low. The shares have fallen 34.5% since peaking at $75.94 in early March.
And we can't forget Google (GOOG), whose Android system is used in phones made by Motorola (MOT) and others. Nor Sprint (S), which also has been marketing Android-based phones.
Google was off 3.8% to $454.26. Motorola dropped 3.8% to $6.80. Sprint, which has been showing signs of life, fell 4% to $4.28.
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