Article first published as Four Reasons The Verizon iPhone Launch Failed on Technorati.

The battle between AT&T and Verizon has officially begun, but so far it hasn’t been much of a fight.

Thursday marked the long-awaited arrival of the Verizon iPhone. While millions of customers are no doubt happy to see the handset available on another carrier with different monthly plans than those currently offered by AT&T, the introduction of the CDMA iPhone seems anticlimactic. Sure, it’s only been a day, but the public response seems lukewarm at best. A lot of hype and buildup for nothing. What’s behind the phone’s lackluster launch? I’ve got four theories.

1. Timing: Verizon likely wanted the phone to launch around Valentine’s day hoping to capitalize on the consumerism of the holiday driving up sales. The problem is that the iPhone 4 launched almost a year ago. The iPhone’s next incarnation is likely to be introduced in early June and if consumers are going to spend money on a new iPhone, CDMA or GSM, they want the latest and greatest, not a model that’s going to be outdated in less than four months.

2. The Hype: The “If you build it they will come” mentality may have backfired. While it’s no secret that Verizon customers have pleaded for the iPhone again and again, when the official announcement was made, Verizon’s advertising efforts were somewhat nauseating to watch. One campaign spot in particular, thanking Verizon customers for their patience as the clock ticked down to arrival day made me cringe. True, some customers may have been watching the clock, but some weren’t. Nobody likes to think of themselves as being so easily manipulated and persuaded. Then again, the iPhone 4 launch last June caused plenty of chaos, so maybe I’ll just concede that point.

3. The Hassle of The Switch: So, you’ve got AT&T and now you’re thinking of switching to the Verizon iPhone? You could, if you want to deal with potential contract hurdles, early termination fees and the headache that comes with joining a new carrier. The cost-benefit analysis isn’t worth it for most users. AT&T has already revamped its calling and data plans to compete with the Verizon launch. As an added bonus, current AT&T iPhone customers are being enticed to stay with AT&T with the promise of an additional 1000 rollover minutes.

 4. The Competition: The iPhone is one of the most popular handsets, but it isn’t the only one. The openness of the Android platform offers its own advantages over the iPhone and is appealing to many who like to have control over their own handsets. Not to mention that Android hasn’t endured months of bad press. No Antennagateissues with the proximity sensor, or easily shattered glass. And let’s not count out Windows Phone 7 in light of their newly-established partnership with Nokia following the death of the Symbian platform.

What are your thoughts on the Verizon iPhone launch?