updated 02:15 pm EDT, Thu July 22, 2010
Verizon says iPhone a watershed moment
The iPhone was a "watershed" in how Verizon looked at mobile apps, business development executive director Jennifer Byrne said at the paidContent Mobile conference. While she claimed Verizon's GetItNow store was the first mobile app store, she saw Apple's store as the turning point for the industry. Verizon eventually learned to adopt a similar, hands-off approach to mobile apps and was rewarded when many of its Android phones took off in popularity.
"It's a drastic change from the walled garden stage to the open approach. It's been a very big shift," Byrne said. "We've seen a tremendous response -- so it's validated the decision."
The stance contrasts sharply with its views in the past, when it often forced phone users to shop only at its store and could filter out apps that would have competed with its own paid services. Since adopting Android, however, it has been one of the more vocal advocates of stores it doesn't control, often focusing heavily on third-party apps in ads and allowing out-of-Market apps where AT&T has blocked non-Market apps under the guise of security.
Byrne added that the company is seeing an iPhone-like effect from the Droid X launch. Despite having multiple flagship Android phones on its network, Verizon has "something like five times" the data use from Motorola's new phone than any other on the network. She didn't explain why, but the 4.3-inch screen and 1GHz processor are potentially better suited to video and other network-intensive apps.
The iPhone created pressure on AT&T's network soon after it shipped in 2007 and rendered certain parts of the network almost unusable a year later due to the sheer number of phones and their data uses. Although Apple software issues have been rumored causes, the iPhone's advantages are often credited with creating the problem: Apple was one of the first to have a truly accurate and fast mobile browser as well as an easily accessible, popular app portal, both of which contrasted sharply with the poor browsers and app platforms on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile that had kept many using them only for e-mail.