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Verizon CEO comments on iPhone, Jobs

Predictably (and, in this case, deservedly), some inflammatory comments made by Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg to the Financial Times have gotten a lot of iCabal press in the past few days:

Verizon is the second-largest US telecoms company, and the fifth-largest in the world.

He reserves his most acerbic remarks for Apple, the US technology company, and Steve Jobs, its chief executive.

Apple is credited with turning the mobile internet into a user-friendly reality with its much hyped iPhone, and Mr Jobs struck an exclusive network deal last year with AT&T for the handset.

While describing Apple as a "great company", Mr Seidenberg highlights its small market share of global handset sales. He scoffs at suggestions that the iPhone is about to become a mass-market handset because Apple has accepted mobile operators' pleas to subsidise it.

"There goes the conspiracy again," he says of Apple. "You're declaring them a winner before they've earned it on the field."

Mr Jobs has no monopoly on innovation, says Mr Seidenberg, whose bullishness about Verizon Wireless' future rests partly on his assertion that the mobile phone is "the most disruptive thing in business".

As handsets become banking tools and games controllers, he argues, mobile operators can up-end other companies' business models. "It's very cool. And Steve Jobs eventually will get old . . . I like our chances."

Yikes. I've addressed Jobs' ill-looking health on a number of occasions but resisted the urge after his recent WWDC appearance because all it did was trigger a bunch of ill-conceived backlash. But let's face it, Jobs isn't looking good. That said, I'd never be cavalier about anyone's health, and I wish Jobs nothing but a long and happy life.

In related news, Larry Dignan still appears to be alive and well.

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