Is the Palm Pre still coming to Verizon?
Previous statements from Verizon Wireless President and CEO Lowell McAdam somewhat spoiled Sprint's launch of the Pre, saying that Verizon would be bringing the Pre to Verizon within six months.
But McAdam didn't quite say it would be the Pre coming to Verizon. Here is his actual quote from May:
Now we aren't typically the carrier that comes out and announces what we are going to be selling 12 months from now. Other carriers do that, and the media loves to speculate on what we are bringing to market. But what I will tell you is that over the next six months or so you will see devices like the Palm Pre and the cousin on our network from Palm.
So McAdam didn't exactly say it would be the Pre, but rather devices like the Pre and "the cousin," which presumably refers to the Pixi. News reports elsewhere that have been more directly influenced by Palm PR directly refer to the Pixi as Palm's "cousin", including from TheStreet.com.
Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg told Barron's today that he believes the Street's report yesterday is incorrect, citing Palm's supply chain orders which are consistent with another version launch. Furthermore, there are rumblings that COO Dennis Strigl told Verizon investors this week that the company expects to ship both of Palm's new devices.
Verizon Wireless' phones right now just aren't compelling, yet that fact hasn't had a negative effect on the company's revenues.
But that isn't to say there hasn't been an impact from Verizon's competitors having more captivating devices.
"I think it should be pretty clear the iPhone has had an impact on us," Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. said at the recent Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVIII Conference. "They have done a good job. AT&T has done a good job. Apple has done a good job with the iPhone."
But the issue at hand is that Verizon doesn't need a trendy device like iPhone or Pre to be successful. It is only affected by competitors' big handset launches in the short term, and it has bounced back after every significant one thus far.
Seidenberg actually downplayed the importance of these trends, "AT&T introduces the iPhone, Sprint introduces the Pre, it stimulates the market and causes a little bit of switching. We focus on what we need to do to keep our churn rates as low as possible, recognizing we have to compete, but we don't go overboard to cause ourselves the position of worrying about the port rate as the primary issue. It is the acquisition of customers and the churn rate."