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Does Verizon Owe Apple Money?

Stocks in this article: VZ AAPL

What a strange world we live in.

-- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Despite all things Apple (AAPL) seemingly taking front page each and every day, one tidbit of news seems to have gone unnoticed. Telecom industry analyst Craig Moffett of Moffett Research has uncovered a potentially meaningful fact as it related to Apple's relationship with Verizon (VZ).

Uncovered in Vodafone's (AAPL) 20-F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Moffett notes that Verizon had agreed to a three-year deal with Apple in June 2011 for $40 billion to $45 billion worth of purchase commitments. Due to contract shortfalls in 2011 and 2012, Moffett notes "this year's aggregate 'purchase commitments' have ballooned to a staggering $23.5 billion, the vast majority of which must certainly be Apple-related."

That's more than double what Verizon purchased last year, according to those filings and Verizon's iPhone sales from its quarterly results. As of right now, Verizon still has $12 billion in purchase requirements for fiscal 2013. Moffett doesn't expect that the telecom giant will simply hand over a check to Apple. Most also don't expect that Apple will ask for the entire $12 billion, and risk losing Verizon's 115 million customers as a result of a few billion in payments.

However, it will be interesting to see how this plays out, since both companies need each other for success, and Apple is not just going to walk away from $12 billion in revenue.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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