Even though this seems like an incredibly drawn-out and old rumor at this point, there is more fuel for the fire today with a rumor circulating that Verizon Wireless is actually planning to pay for iPhone "semi-exclusivity."
According to AppleInsider via The New York Times, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu told investors that Verizon is "willing to accept Apple's terms in order to have access to the iPhone" and might pay to "ensure that the iPhone remains exclusive to it and AT&T."
Even though a Verizon CMDA-enabled iPhone hasn't been entirely confirmed yet, that could be a smart move for Verizon. After all, earlier this year there was speculation that T-Mobile would beat Verizon to the punch and pick up the iPhone first.
It would also be smart for Apple at this point given that Verizon is the largest wireless carrier in the United States, and several other mobile platforms are growing in sales and popularity with other providers (i.e. Android and Windows Phone 7). Besides, nearly every other market where the iPhone is sold (legally) is available with more than one service provider. Why can't we just have those same options here already!?