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Summary:

Verizon today appointed Lowell McAdam the company’s chief operating officer in preparation for Ivan Seidenberg’s eventual retirement. The news signals a move away from landlines and toward mobile, where it has net neutrality impacts due to the tech bro-mance between McAdam and Google CEO, Eric Schmidt.

Lowell McAdam (right) with Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt

Verizon today appointed Lowell McAdam the company’s chief operating officer, setting McAdam up for an even larger future role, once the current chairman and CEO, Ivan G. Seidenberg steps down. In a press statement, the company indicated this news to be “an important step in the succession process for when Seidenberg retires from the company.” McAdam is currently the president and CEO of Verizon’s mobile arm, Verizon Wireless, and officially begins reporting to Seidenberg in his new role on Oct. 1. By placing the wireless-focused McAdam in line for the top spot, Verizon continues to illustrate a move away from fading fixed-landline demand and toward a mobile future.

McAdam’s appointment is sure to have implications far beyond Verizon, however. It’s no secret that McAdam and Verizon Wireless are partners with Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. McAdam and Schmidt teamed up back in 2009 with news of Verizon’s commitment for Android-powered smartphones on the Verizon network. With no Apple iPhone to offer, Verizon needed a comparable mobile platform, and Google needed a carrier partner to help Android gain traction. Although Android has grown market share beyond iOS and BlackBerry for many reasons since then, McAdam’s commitment to a large array of Android devices helped jumpstart the Android army in the U.S. That relationship is sure to continue, as McAdam recently admitted that his company is working with Google on an Android tablet.

Such growth of Android may be good for developers looking for a profitable future and customers who want a compelling choice in smartphones (and tablets), and Verizon is happy to sell you one, of course. But the bigger concern by this tech “bro-mance” deals with net neutrality. Google and Verizon have jointly outlined a stance on net neutrality and that stance allows wireless carriers to manage network traffic as they see fit. In fairness, it was Verizon’s Seidenberg that publicly penned the company’s net neutrality suggestions, but make no mistake: McAdam will continue down the path of protecting Verizon’s wireless assets with the help of Schmidt at Google.

Google wants the world to use it as a search engine and suite of web apps to beget ad income, which last year accounted for 97 percent of revenue. Verizon will be moving towards a tiered pricing bucket for wireless data and is even offering cloud-based services that compete against third-party developers on its mobile network.

Aside from naming McAdam as the future leader of Verizon and the broader industry implications, the news also illustrates the lightning-fast pace of a wireless world. It was only back in 2000 that McAdam was tapped as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of a brand new entity called Verizon Wireless. In the span of a decade, a mobile company was created to complement a wired parent, and now the child is ready to lead the future.

Related GigaOM Pro Content (sub req’d): The New Net-Neutrality Debate: What’s the Best Way to Discriminate?

  1. Verizon wants and needs the iPhone because they know Android alone will not win over the many people who left Verizon because of the iPhone. At least not in Androids current half baked state. But Apple refuses to roll over for Verizon like Google did which is why it is taking so long. Even so I would bet that iPhone will be on T-Mobile and Verizon within 6 months. At which point Android sales will drop like a rock. Just as they did in europe when the iPhone was on all carriers.

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    1. Prasheen Prakash Monday, September 20, 2010

      I disagree. Apple will find it very difficult to keep up with the pace at which Android is going. If you would have noticed, a key trend on Android is the introduction of devices at different price tiers. Soon there will be a flurry of low cost Android phones which will be consumed by people at the lower end of spectrum including kids (who would just love the integration with the social networks).
      If Verizon keeps to its guns and be the first to introduce such devices to the US market it can see another increase in its subscriptions.
      If Apple has to fight back they need to cosy up to Verizon et al. and most importantly introduce Iphone nano devices in the next two quarters.
      Just my two cents
      Cheers!
      Prasheen

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  2. [...] impressed. And while his company is doing well, Dick Lynch, CTO and EVP, Verizon, was just surpassed by Lowell McAdam, who was head of the Verizon Wireless business and recently promoted to COO of the parent company [...]

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