Fans of Apple's (NYSE: AAPL) iPhone now have a choice.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) officially rolled out a new version of the iPhone 4 on its popular network this week. The days of AT&T (NYSE: T) exclusivity are over.

You're already seeing AT&T take a new tack in its advertising campaign. It is actively promoting the ability to surf the Web during voice calls, a feature that isn't available on Verizon's network.

It will be interesting to see whether Verizon fights back, though it may want to make sure that the influx of data-hogging iPhone users doesn't slow down its own network first.

Having two fierce competitors will ultimately reward consumers. Verizon already threw a curveball at AT&T by offering an unlimited data plan with its iPhone. That's unlikely to last, though it very well might if it's both effective at luring customers and cost-effective. AT&T has meanwhile been beefing up its tethering offering and relaxing its mobile-to-mobile stance.

I'm already looking forward to June, when both carriers are likely to be hawking the fifth-generation iPhone. This was already a good fight when only one of them had the iconic smartphone. It's about to get even better.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) is axing its Guitar Hero franchise. The niche-defining music-timing game once had families everywhere clicking away on plastic guitars. Now that gamers aren't clamoring for an encore, it's time to call it a night.
  • Nokia (NYSE: NOK) CEO Stephen Elop turned heads this week, when an internal memo leaked. "We poured gasoline on our own burning platform," he wrote. I love Elop's frank assessment. Nokia has a right to be blunt. However, just because you realize the problem, that doesn't mean that there's a feasible solution.
  • Disney (NYSE: DIS) posted better-than-expected quarterly results. As a bellwether for consumer spending, it's encouraging to see most of Disney's segments growing nicely.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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