Verizon to jettison Palm Pre plan (potentially)

More bad news for Palm: the rumor-mill says Verizon is changing its mind on supporting the Palm Pre smartphone. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers try not to make lame, "Can you hear me now?" jokes; some speculating we'll see a Verizon iPhone first.

By Richi Jennings. September 25, 2009.

(PALM) (VZ) (S) (AAPL)

Your humble blogwatcher has selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention banned iPhone apps...

    Scott Moritz claims an "exclusive":

Palm's Pre phone isn't making the cut at Verizon. ... Palm's premier touch-screen smartphone, which has been an exclusive offering this year at Sprint, had been scheduled to arrive at Verizon in January. But people close to the discussions say Verizon has decided not to support the Pre.

...

The move would be a dramatic setback for the up-from-the-ashes Palm story. The company desperately needs to secure more telco partners to sell its flagship phone. ... A Palm representative says the company has never named Verizon as one of its partners. ... Verizon reps declined to comment ... [but] in May, [its] wireless chief Lowell McAdam told investors the Pre was coming in six months.
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Chris Davies adds:

Since the Palm Pre was revealed to be – in its first incarnation – a CDMA handset, Verizon subscribers have wondered when (or even if) it might arrive on their network of choice. ... Sources close to the negotiations suggest that Verizon’s focus on RIM and Motorola’s upcoming Android handset for the network have left them with little room for the Pre and webOS.

...

The sources also suggest that Verizon’s VCast application and mobile media download system has caused arguments, being in competition with the webOS app store. Finally, sales of the Pre have not been the turnaround success many hoped they might be, leaving Verizon unclear on the cost benefit of supporting and marketing the smartphone.
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John Paczkowski clarifies McAdam's remark:

Well, now we know why Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said he expects to have “devices like the Pre” on his network by next year: The carrier reportedly doesn’t plan to offer the Pre at all. ... An interesting rumor, but clearly one that’s to be taken with a grain of salt, if not a salt lick entire.

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One thing’s certain, though: If the rumor does prove true, it’s a serious blow not just to Palm, but to Verizon customers pining for a decent handset as well. Unless, of course, Verizon has cut an iPhone deal with Apple–in which case it’s just lousy news for Palm.
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That makes Kevin C. Tofel a sad panda:

That’s a shame for several reasons. First, it wouldn’t be too challenging to bring a CDMA handset to VZW. Second, Palm needs to get the Pre out in as many hands as it can — developers are chasing the handset sales, and the Pre needs apps. I’m hoping Scott Moritz is wrong on this one.
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Devin Coldewey ponders:

I think we were all secretly rooting for Palm just a bit. After all, WebOS is impressive and the Pre and Pixi are solid little devices — but Verizon doesn’t think so, or at least not anymore. ... This is a serious blow to Palm’s aspirations, and their stock took a 5% hit as if to rubber-stamp it.

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Could Verizon be secretly waiting on the iPhone? It’s a fun thought, but I’d say no way. AT&T has barely been able to cope with the strain of a network full of iPhones, and Verizon would probably break. It’s also an expensive move, and Verizon’s always been about selling medium-sized services to cheap phones.
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So what's your take?
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And finally...


Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.
 
 
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