“Want to buy an iPhone? Verizon would really, really like you to consider an alternative,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney.

“Anecdotal evidence is stacking up on chat forums and other outlets from people who say that Verizon Wireless’ sales representatives actively discouraged them from buying an iPhone and instead pushed hard for rival smartphones,” Goldman reports. “I decided to find out for myself. I had 10 conversations with Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) sales representatives in New York stores, on the phone, and in online chat sessions, asking about my options for a new smartphone. Here’s what I found: Next time you walk into a Verizon store looking to buy a smartphone, expect the hard sell on a 4G Android device.”

Goldman reports, “In each of the 10 discussions, representatives steered me toward either the Motorola (MMI) Droid Razr Maxx, the Droid Razr, or the LG Lucid — all 4G-capable phones running Google’s (GOOG, Fortune 500) Android software. When I asked if those devices were better than the iPhone, they responded that the iPhone was an inferior alternative because it only runs on the company’s slower 3G network… I initially told half the representatives that I wanted “a new smartphone,” and half that I was interested in an iPhone. When I said up front that I wanted an iPhone, none tried to talk me out of it. But when I followed up by asking if it was the best smartphone, they all said no.”

MacDailyNews Take: Despite this, of the 6.3 million smartphones sold by Verizon last quarter, 3.2 million, or over half, were Apple iPhones. Imagine if they tried to sell them!

“Carriers have motives to favor some smartphones over others. Verizon and its rivals all pay much heftier up-front subsidies for the iPhone than for other devices. Verizon is also trying to ease congestion on its 3G network by promoting its more capacious and more efficient 4G service,” Gold ‘It’s all about the 4S now,’ one AT&T rep said over the phone, unprovoked. ‘The iPhone is the most popular phone, you know what you’re getting, and it’s a status symbol you can’t get anywhere else.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s what happens when you actually do try to sell iPhones: 78% of all smartphones sold by AT&T last quarter were Apple iPhones.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Fear.

And, while they’re right to be afraid, they’re wrong to shackle their customers to inferior devices just to try to stave off the inevitable.

Verizon, steering your customers wrong in the interest of self-preservation is just plain bad business.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “GetMeOnTop” for the heads up.]

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