Verizon’s Seidenberg on broadband, China and Cheney


Verizon’s Chief Executive on Tuesday tackled subjects ranging from US healthcare reform,  iPhone, China, his lack of interest in a merger with Vodafone and his feelings about former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Here’s a sample of comments he made at an event held by the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.

On the likelihood of a Vodafone/Verizon merger:
Absent new information a merger doesnt seem to have a lot of appeal.

On iPhone:
Seidenberg said he would hope to carry the Apple device on its next generation mobile network. When?

It’s their call.”

On China and the battle for an open Internet there:
What they’re doing in the long term is not sustainable.” He added that Verizon was continuing to work on technology rather than “take them on like Google.”

Verizon CEO gearing up for retirement, or not?

seidenbergCEOs are always pretty coy when asked about their retirement plans.  Verizon Communications Ivan Seidenberg, 63, definitely falls into that category as evidenced by his request that the Wall Street Journal’s Joann Lublin keep his reply off the record when she asked him about succession at a conference on Friday.

Surprisingly Lubin agreed, never mind that the two were discussing the matter onstage in front of a sizeable audience at a Nasdaq conference.

But even this wasn’t enough to make Seidenberg spill the beans because, as he said,  setting a date would create issues. The executive did say that he would “stay until the board decides it needs a change” causing us to wonder if  this means he’s hoping to work for as long as possible.

Verizon cagey on phones, open about global ambitions

In a wide-ranging interview with Charlie Rose earlier this week, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg danced around questions about cellphones but was more forthcoming about the U.S. telecom giant’s long-term expansion ambitions.

Asked to confirm a report that Verizon will sell an Android-based phone from Motorola this year Seidenberg said, “It might be true what you said. I can’t quite disclose…”

And as for any plans to sell iPhone, the executive said that would be Apple’s decision.

Dear Ivan Seidenberg: It’s me, Knicks Fan

Quentin Richardson (front) from the New York Knicks falls out of boundsDoes Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon’s top executive, fancy himself the next media mogul with a pro-sports team, a la Mark Cuban, the Dolan family and Paul Allen?

He hinted as much at the Dow Jones Media and Money conference  conference in New York. The trouble is the team he mentioned — The New York Knicks — are owned by Cablevision, a chief rival of Verizon. So pretty much kiss that idea goodbye.

Seidenberg hinted at the very, very unlikely possibility of buying the Knicks during a back and forth at the conference Michael Burgi of MediaWeek. Burgi asked Seidenberg to discuss his “content strategy.”