Verizon-Android: Rotten deal for Apple and its iPhone

Verizon (VZ) will sell handsets powered by Google's Android very soon -- and that can't be good for iPhone maker Apple (AAPL). The wireless carrier and the search giant announced a tie-up on Tuesday that was short on details. My colleague Sam Gustin interpreted the deal as a frontal assault on Apple by Verizon. I think he's basically right and want to elaborate a bit on the logic.

When Verizon and Google (GOOG) decide to work together, it's hard not to speculate on what this might mean for Apple and its iPhone. After all, Verizon has long been rumored to have a deal in the works with Apple. Reports have bubbled all summer and fall that Apple, disenchanted with AT&T's (T) network performance for mobile Web surfing, will drop the exclusive iPhone distribution deal it has with Ma Bell.