[by Blake Robinson] Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android now rests within the warm embrace of Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless, further strengthening VZ’s announcement last week for an “any app, any device”
Open Network next year. In an interview with BusinessWeek, VZ CEO Lowell McAdam said, “We’re planning on using using Android… [it's] an enabler of what we do.”
What Verizon intends to do with Android remains uncertain, but McAdam says that Verizon’s late support of the platform comes from a need to understand the details of the OS.
The Android decision, like Open Network, boils down to an issue of sustainability. Where employees at Verizon’s 25 call centers and 2,300 retail stores once spent most of their days locking customers into draconian contracts, they now spend the majority of their time helping existing customers with technical issues. Under the new model much of the technical support will be displaced to the device manufacturers and application developers. But this doesn’t mean that Verizon is now adopting a mode of caveat emptor; it plans to to fully test all devices for its network to ensure full compatibility.
From an economics perspective, Open Network will theoretically enable Verizon employees to dedicate more manpower to signing up new subscribers. It does, however, bring into question consumer’s discontent after walking into a local Verizon store looking for technical support only to be apologetically redirected to the 800 number of a third-party vendor.