The data that surfaced last week, if accurate, show how badly the carrier needs the iPhone
Most of the analysts who looked at the Verizon (VZ) sales data that All Things Digital‘s John Paczkowski published Friday picked up his story line: Thanks to Google’s (GOOG) Android, Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry has gone, in Paczkowski’s words, “from a flagship to a johnboat.”
But Asymco‘s Horace Dediu has a different take. The sales figures, if they are to be believed, show that Google has let the carrier down.
Despite the explosion of Android phone sales, he suggests, the iPhone has stolen Verizon’s growth and forced it to make a deal with Apple (AAPL) on Steve Jobs’ terms.
This assumes that the data — shown here in Dediu’s color-coded chart — can be believed.
Because the numbers are so detailed — they show monthly sales by individual vendors with precision down to 1,000 units per month — Dediu initially assumed they must have been leaked. But according to Paczkowski’s source, ITG Investment Research, the firm did not receive “any material non-public information from Verizon or any other company we cover.” Those numbers, it insists, were based on daily point-of-sale data the company gathers from thousands of wireless retailers.
In any event, what’s striking about the larger chart is how sharply Verizon’s sales fell off after August, when the iPhone 4 became widely available.
Now compare Verizon’s smartphone sales with Apple’s quarterly iPhone sales at AT&T (T), as shown in the smaller chart.
Dediu has looked at the leaked data five different ways, and in a detailed analysis posted Monday he concludes that Verizon had no choice but to cut the deal with Apple that it resisted three years earlier.
You can read Dediu’s full analysis here.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]