When the Droid-line came on the scene 3 years ago Verizon just saw the The storm (and later storm 2) not be able to do enough to compete with the iphone customers on At&t. At the time the iphone was the hottest smart phone out and with the 3gs At&t was getting smart phone customers left and right. Verizon had the business customers who wanted the blackberry for business and needed a reliable network but could not get the casual customers to buy in. And even among the customers they had there was the question of "when are you guys getting the iPhone". It was no secret that apple was rising toward the top of the smart phone chain with the ability to leverage its own deals. No other smart phone company had the ability to go to carriers and demand they set the rules as far as pricing and device warranties. Verizon drew a line in the sand not wanting to relinquish control of their devices, which at the time was the best thing as far as customer service was concerned. Where apple was concerned about their product the carriers wanted to ensure customer support.
Given blackberry was not able to slow the apple momentum Verizon needed a competitive smart phone that would drive in contracts, Motorola was on its last leg, and Android needed a big time commercial push to bring more exposure to the operating system. This perfect storm brought us the Motorola Droid, advertised to be everything the iphone wasn't while being on the same playing field. Early on the Droid was applauded for being an industrial device with specs that was competitive with the iphone but did not have the app support that would allow it to take down the big dog. To add to that early criticism of the keyboard and headphone jack had the potential to cause android to lose the little grip it had on trying to bring the device exposure. But then something happened: the device was rooted and once the process was made easy by developers like Sholesmod people saw what this Droid could potentially do. Add to that dolphin browser bringing pinch to zoom ( and later roms that brought pinch to zoom to the native browser) and you had a phone that sparked a community.
The hype for android was ever increasing and google releasing their own smart phone (nexus line) and you have a snow ball of momentum. Developers brought many of the nexus rom goodies to the droid and the droid line was slowly taking fans away from apple.
Verizon watched a device grow faster than they could handle and with software being modded their support was lost to what or how to handle support questions. This opened the door for forum support teams to provide the tech support that verizon couldn't and possibly leaving verizon feeling like they did not have the control they wanted with the Droid. The Droid line continued to grow in popularity and android was on its way to building an army of its own on other carriers . Verizon wanted to continue the momentum of the droid line while looking to regain control of their device. The next evolution of android brought a larger screen with a locked boot loader. Despite locking the device verizon and motorola saw the Droid X continue to build on its popularity as non business customers were choosing android on vzw over the iphone with at&t. The locked bootloaders begun the schism between loyal android fans and verizon/motorola because android fans felt they helped build the device to its popularity thanks to openness and roms while verizon wanted to continue its control of their devices on their network. This fight continues among android fans who are verizon customers and the question to be asked is did verizon turn their back on the fans? Or did android go in a direction that verizon never intended it to go and because they have always controlled their product android users should have known that they would continue to keep full control of their products?