Verizon (NYSE: VZ)'s roll-out of HDTV and broadband with its fiber-to-the-home product looked so promising. It even got shareholders in cable companies nervous. They were worried that the phone company would start to take away their digital cable TV customers.
All of that was looking very good for Verizon until it started to run out of the set-top boxes that make the HDTV system work in homes. As if things were not bad enough for Motorola (NYSE: MOT), it looks like the company's set-top operation may be at fault. The Wall Street Journal says ,"a Motorola spokeswoman confirmed that demand for the HD set-top box was 'strong and has exceeded expectations. We are pleased with this positive response and we are working closely with our suppliers to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers as quickly as possible.'"
What a lot of bull. While the market may never know where the mix-up was, Verizon certainly knows how many customers it plans to add and its inventory of boxes. Motorola knows what the demand is across its customer base and whether its manufacturing can handle the load.
Either way, Verizon has given its competition a gift. Who wants high-speed wiring that won't work with the TV?
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com.