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The modern history of the mobile industry in one devastating chart

Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs holds the new iPhone in San Francisco, California January 9, 2007. Apple unveiled an eagerly-anticipated iPod mobile phone with a touch-screen on Tuesday, priced at $599 for 8 gigabytes of memory, pushing the company's shares up as much as 8.5 percent. Jobs said the iPhone, which also will be available in a 4-gigabyte model for $499, will ship in June in the United States. The phones will be available in Europe in the fourth quarter and in Asia in 2008. REUTERS/Kimberly White
Reuters/Kimberly White
The impact is still playing out.
By John McDuling
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

A decade ago Verizon, America’s biggest wireless carrier, was actually worth more than Apple (nearly three times as much!). Then in 2007, the iPhone arrived, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Wall Street Journal’s Dennis Berman aptly described (paywall) this phenomenon as “one of the greatest transfers of power and wealth in corporate history.”

You see, telecom carriers such as Verizon dominated the embryonic mobile ecosystem, but they’ve long since ceded that ground to device makers (such as Apple) and applications providers (such as Facebook).

Verizon’s purchase of AOL this week is an attempt to buck this trend. But the truth is, it’s probably too late.

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