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Verizon passes on Google phone

By Amy Thomson
Bloomberg News / April 27, 2010

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NEW YORK — Verizon Wireless, the largest US mobile phone company, retreated from plans to offer service for Google Inc.’s Nexus One phone yesterday, saying it will focus on other Android-powered handsets instead.

Until yesterday morning, Google’s website showed that the Nexus One would be available through Verizon in spring 2010. The site now points Verizon users seeking phones that run Google’s Android operating system to HTC Corp.’s Incredible model.

Without a Verizon partnership, Google loses access to the carrier’s more than 90 million customers, potentially blocking the phone from gaining more widespread popularity and hurting its competition with Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

The breakdown of the deal signals Verizon may view Google as a competitor rather than a partner when it comes to Nexus One sales, said analyst Colin Gillis at BGC Partners LP in New York.

“It’s really a flop for Google,’’ said Gillis. “They paid a price to roll out their own branded phone — it’s a price of trust and relationship with some of the other players in the space.’’

Google decided against selling the Nexus One with Verizon because of “amazing innovation happening across the open Android ecosystem,’’ spokesman Anthony House said in a statement.

Verizon Wireless, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., has no current plans to sell service for the Nexus One phone, spokesman Marquett Smith said.

“If they want to do business with us or sell the device, we’re open to that,’’ Smith said.