BusinessWeek’s article, Verizon Embraces Google’s Android, discusses the sudden shift in Verizon Wireless’s business model, from tightly restricted to an open-access network, and how Google’s Android helped facilitate this shift. The article details how the open movement at the company was spearheaded by CEO Lowell McAdam.
Some highlights of Lowell McAdam from the article:
[Verizon Wireless’s] surprise embrace of an open-access model and of the Android software culminates a dramatic yearlong evolution in the company’s thinking. The effort, championed by McAdam, involved meetings with the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and late-night bull sessions with the top two executives at Verizon Communications, which owns Verizon Wireless in partnership with Vodafone.
McAdam was more amenable to shifting gears thanks to time spent during the 1990s in Europe and Asia, where the wireless industry is more of a free-for-all. …[he] says he was impressed that European and Asian mobile carriers backed technologies that allow subscribers to switch to rivals with ease.
The BusinessWeek article goes on to discuss how the open-access move could help reduce Verizon’s costs and help to combat market saturation in the US. The upcoming FCC wireless spectrum auction is also covered. Particularly, how the auction (and lobbying from Google and other tech companies for open-access) got McAdam to consider that a move to an open-access business model was necessary.
According to McAdam, Android was the final key influence in Verizon adopting an open-access business model. This is, of course, why Verizon is now “embracing” the Android platform. However, when Google first announced the release of Android, Verizon (along with AT&T) were absent from the press release. According to McAdam, the reason they did not sign on and support Android from the beginning is two-fold, “To get into that press release really didn’t do anything [for Verizon]…We needed to understand the details of that operating system.”
As I mentioned in my previous VZW open-access post, Verizon’s new open initiative will offer increased flexibility for VZW’s customers by allowing them to choose between VZW’s full service offering or going with a third party device and mobile applications. It was clear to me at the time of my previous post that “These innovative [third party] mobile web applications will initially be developed through the Android Open Handset Alliance.” McAdam also sees the potential in the Android Platform by saying, “Clearly the Android system gives a lot of developers the opportunity to develop applications for a wide range of handsets.” Clearly, if a lot of developers start developing applications, we are bound to get at least a few very innovative and useful applications from Android. Right? I can’t wait to see how much the US wireless market changes in the next few years.