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Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Verizon reportedly sees iPhone as "essential to future success"

Verizon is "still excited" about launching Apple's iPhone early next year "to combat slowing Android momentum in the US," according to analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros.

The confirmation of Verizon's interest in launching the iPhone, "despite it already carrying a full roster of competing operating systems including Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows, and webOS," provides additional support for data reported earlier showing a sharp decline in Verizon's growth from Android following the launch of iPhone 4.

The Kaufman Bros. note emphasizes Verizon's concerns about Android and its market share losses to AT&T, stating, "our sources indicate that VZ views iPhone as essential to its future success."

The firm also noted that it appears that AT&T's exclusive on RIM's BlackBerry Torch is set to expire at the end of this year, allowing Verizon to sell it or a similar model on its network as well.