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Verizon iPhone coming as soon as Apple is ready, says CEO

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(Read caption) Verizon iPhone could be around the corner. Barclay analysts James Ratcliffe says that a CDMA version of Apple's smart phone could be ready by next year.

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Want a Verizon iPhone? So does Verizon.

Ivan Seidenberg, who runs the parent company of Verizon Wireless, told the Economic Club of Washington Tuesday that his company would love to carry the Apple iPhone. But there's a problem.

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“That decision’s really Apple’s,” Seidenberg said, in comments quoted by Bloomberg. “We stand ready to do it, but that’s an Apple decision.”

When Apple first created the iPhone, it signed a lengthy exclusivity deal with AT&T. Many expect that sole partnership to end in 2011.

If that happens, Barclay analyst James Ratcliffe expects Apple to introduce a Verizon iPhone early in the year. And why wouldn't they, he asks. Verizon could sell 9 million iPhones in the first year, 900,000 of which would go to new Verizon customers, he says. Win-win.

But more stands between Verizon and Apple than just AT&T. First, Apple would need to engineer an iPhone ready for Verizon's network. The carrier is one of the few in the world that uses CDMA technology, where as the iPhone only understands GSM. (Not sure about the difference? Check out our cellphone primer.)