Do you think Verizon is in the wrong for this Google Wallet situation?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Interpretation. You’ve heard that the law is all about interpretation, and that’s very true. I’m going to go ahead and get the obvious out of the way and say that I’m not a lawyer, and nor am I going to try to be. In fact, while I’m going to add what legal jargon has been included in this whole Google Wallet and Verizon situation, I’m not going to sit here and try to interpret it. I’m going to take it at face value, and you’re going to come along for the ride. Maybe at the end of this we can come to a mutual conclusion. And maybe, just maybe, we can figure out why this is even a situation to talk about.
So, let’s start at the beginning, where it’s usually best to start. It was last week that we started to hear murmurings that Google Wallet, the Near Field Communications-based payment system, wouldn’t be making its way to the Galaxy Nexus. Specifically, it wouldn’t be making an appearance on the version of the Galaxy Nexus that is (supposed to be) launching on Verizon’s network. Verizon was quick to say that they aren’t blocking Google Wallet from working on the phone, but that it boils down to an integration thing. Acting quickly, Jeffrey Nelson –a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless – issued a statement that said Verizon aims to have “the best security and user experience,” and to make that happen, they’ve got to work with Google to get Wallet up to par.
Now, if that’s where the story ended, then that probably would have been fine. There would have been plenty of people who didn’t believe the official statement, but there wouldn’t have been a huge brouhaha developed from it. But, as it usually happens, that wasn’t where the story ended. Instead of ending there, a couple of Google spokespeople came forward and laid it out a bit simpler: Verizon told Google not to put Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus. And, for whatever reason, Google apparently agreed. Of course, we have no idea what is really going on behind the curtains, but that’s what it would seem from this side. Verizon asked Google not to put it on the phone, and Google complied.
It was a day later that Jeffrey Nelson would come forward and outline the position of Verizon. Nelson never actually says anything about Verizon asking Google not to put the application on the phone, but keeps the focus on the fact that Verizon wants a secure phone, and Google Wallet apparently throws a kink in all of that. Again, it’s all about the details, and for us out here in the mortal realm, those are pretty hard to come by. Sadly, the fact that Verizon has a stake in ISIS, a competing mobile commerce idea, was front-and-center the whole time.
And that’s the rub, isn’t it? Whether or not Google is in the wrong by listening to Verizon in this whole thing, if that’s what really happened, doesn’t really matter anymore. No, the focus has been put completely on Big Red, and whether or not the wireless carrier is in the right for not-blocking, but kind of blocking, Google Wallet due to their competing ISIS. It may actually get into the lawsuit area, if this new focus on the C-block bears any fruit. And, people think this is the real reason the Galaxy Nexus was delayed on December 9th, but we may never know if that’s the case or not.
So, here’s my question to you, dear reader: do you honestly think that Verizon is in the wrong, if the above situation is really what’s going on? Yes, I’ve already stated my reasons as to why I think Verizon has messed up the launch of the Galaxy Nexus, but that boils down to the fact that the carrier is keeping all of us in the dark, and we’re left to our own assumptions (which is obviously never good). But, if this Google Wallet/ISIS thing really is holding up the release, do you think Verizon is in the wrong for wanting to keep an application (that is only available on the Samsung Nexus S 4G on Sprint’s network, mind you) off one of their phones, that will directly compete with their own plans later in 2012?
Let me know what you think.