What Did Apple Snatch From Under Verizon’s Nose?

A little look at history shows that, in some cases, one man’s treasure is another man’s treasure. Or, in this case, that Verizon’s (NYSE:VZ) treasure was perhaps Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) treasure, and unfortunately, only one company could actually have it.

The treasure in question is none other than Siri. The friendly, genial, supportive, task-performing, direction-giving personal assistant program, which launched on the iPhone 4S in 2011 and has been a great selling point for Apple devices — popular enough to spread from the iPhone to other iOS products — has appeared in countless YouTube videos, been the focus of viral parodies, and sparked numerous copycat apps on Android devices.

Some people might think of Siri as something uniquely Apple, something the competitors will never have, something they could never have. But a look at history shows that the competitors could and almost did have Siri all to themselves…

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Before Apple bought Siri, the company that was getting serious about the smartphone assistant was Verizon. In fact, Verizon had even gone as far as to make a deal with the company that would have put Siri exclusively on Verizon’s devices running Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system. Verizon even made commercials to show off the Android-Siri combo that would never be.

Had Siri debuted on Verizon’s Androids in 2010, Apple might have had a dull 2011, as the iPhone 4S — the first to include Siri — would have been shy one of its most engaging features. Android, on the other hand, might have seen a huge boost in popularity that would’ve helped it take a chunk out of iPhone sales.

However, the fact remains that when push came to shove, Verizon’s deal with Siri wasn’t as strong as Apple’s purchasing power, and Apple got what it wanted in the end.

Of course, Verizon can’t complain too much. The iPhone 4S did record sales for the company, as well as other carriers around the world, and continues to account for strong sales as a cheaper alternative to the newer iPhone 5, which is integrated with an updated and improved Siri.

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