It's no secret that Verizon wants the Pre; in fact, as much as we're sure they'd like to be showing a corporate poker face, it's pretty obvious they want it badly given how swiftly it sought to take the wind out of Sprint's sails with comments around the time of the initial launch. Sprint's Dan Hesse moved just as quickly to quash the thought as best he could by publicly slamming his company's archrival, telling media that Verizon needed to cut it out with the assumptions that Sprint's exclusivity period was six months and reiterating that he'd have the Pre in his back pocket through the end of 2009. The obvious response from Verizon? Revise your language just a little bit and keep at it. Big Red is now saying that it'll have the Pre "early next year" in comments made during its earnings call today -- in other words, the very moment Sprint's exclusivity ends if Verizon has anything to say about it. From Palm's perspective, sitting pretty atop the States' largest carrier is a good place to be, so we're sure they're stoked to hear the depth of Verizon's interest -- not to mention that we've still got that Eos floating around somewhere.