The wait is over. Apple's
This is obviously going to be good news for both parties. Apple will get to widen its market through a second major carrier. Verizon Wireless will no longer have to suffer customer defections upgrading to the iPhone.
There can't be winners without losers, though. Let's go over a few of the companies that stand the most to lose with this move.
This one's easy. Apple iPhone customers fed up with AT&T's network issues don't have to put up with Ma Bell anymore. Verizon will finalize the available data plans as we get closer to next month's launch, but it's been widely reported that Verizon Wireless will offer an option for unlimited data, something that AT&T abandoned for new customers this past summer.
AT&T isn't exactly toast. Verizon
Regardless of the benefits, AT&T will lose its flexibility. It will no longer be able to get away with iffy connectivity, and it may even have to revisit the unlimited data plans it figured it had ditched last year.
The small-box retailer of consumer electronics isn't an obvious loser, until you walk into one of its nearly 4,700 stores or hundreds of store-within-a-store wireless kiosks. RadioShack is a reseller for all of the major carriers, except for Verizon Wireless.
This could be an easy fix, giving RadioShack customers the ability to shop between the two available carriers. However, until we see this happen, RadioShack will be sitting at the losers' table.
What have iPhone fans contractually tied to the Verizon network done for their smartphone fix? There's a better than fair chance that they've been probing an Android handset.
Android rocks, so they may very well be happy with their Google-fueled smartphone experiences. However, now they can choose between the iPhone and whatever the hot Android flavor of the week may be. The iPhone 4 begins at the same $199 price point as AT&T, so it's not as if Apple is being priced out of the market.
Research In Motion
BlackBerry is geared largely toward the corporate crowd, so it probably doesn't have as much market share to lose as Google's Android. However, there's still something to be said for the vulnerability of a company with a whopping 55 million active accounts.
If Apple is able to play nicer in the corporate space, Research In Motion will be more than just a little threatened here.
Mr. Softy gets slapped around two ways. The obvious first knock is that greater variety at Verizon Wireless stores will make it harder for the new Windows Phone 7 to make a dent in the smartphone space.
The other knock on Microsoft is that the "halo effect" can once again be in play for Apple. Just as the initial success of its iPod helped sell Macs, a widening audience of iPhone owners will continue to make Macs more popular.
You clearly don't need a Mac to own an iPod or an iPhone. Apple's iTunes is readily available in Windows. However, there comes a point where folks begin eyeing their iPads, iPhones, and iPod players and realize that they have become Apple addicts.
Can you think of other losers with next month's debut of the Verizon iPhone 4? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is sadly not on Verizon. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.