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Verizon CEO: iPhone success a 'conspiracy'

Ivan Seidenberg, chief of the telecom giant, is probably sick of hearing about Apple's iPhone, judging by his comments on the iPhone 3G.

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg probably isn't getting an iPhone 3G.

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg Verizon

The head of the telecom giant seemed a bit irritated about Apple's march into the mobile phone industry when he answered a question posed by the Financial Times about Apple's chances of reaching the mass market with the iPhone 3G by saying, "There goes the conspiracy again. You're declaring them a winner before they've earned it on the field."

Seidenberg's main contention seems to be that the iPhone isn't a success because it has such a small share of the overall mobile phone market, which is sort of like arguing that GM is more successful than Ferrari because they sell more cars. While it's true that Apple has a long way to go before it dominates the U.S. mobile phone industry to the degree that Verizon does, it's only been a year.

Verizon reportedly turned down the chance to carry the original iPhone over distaste for the revenue-sharing agreements that Apple insisted on for its early launch partners. In a way, that was a sound business decision, as Apple has been forced to retreat from that stance and accept the carrier-subsidy model that is the de facto standard for this industry, reducing the price of the iPhone. However, it's not like the thing was a flop, and even though Verizon is doing pretty well without the iPhone, it is definitely playing around with touch-screen smartphones.

In any event, the 61-year-old Verizon CEO's plan seems to involve waiting for Apple's 53-year-old CEO to retire.

"Steve Jobs eventually will get old...I like our chances," Seidenberg told the FT.