Verizon Might Owe Apple $14 Billion for Unsold iPhones

You know the saying, "Be careful what you wish for?" Well, Verizon Wireless once wished upon a star that it could join the iPhone party, which at the time was exclusive to AT&T. Apple ultimately granted Verizon its wish, and according to an older filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Big Red may owe the Cupertino company a lot of money for unsold iPhone devices.

Analyst Craig Moffett of Moffet Research wrote in a research note that Verizon's iPhone sales haven't kept up with its promised commitment with Apple, noting that the wireless carrier would have to sell $23.5 billion worth of iPhone devices this year to make good on its deal, The Wall Street Journal reports. Verizon sold less than half that amount in 2012, and according to Moffett, Big Red could end up owing $14 billion.

Apple iPhone

Apple and Verizon haven't shared any details of their iPhone arrangement, and Moffett had to do some digging to uncover the above info. Specifically, he combed the footnotes of a 2011 SEC filing by Vodafone Group, which owns a 45 percent stake in Verizon.

All this could be much ado about nothing. Moffett acknowledges "it's unlikely that Verizon would simply have to write a check for the difference," but there could some kind of penalty involved.