In a carrier-dominated market such as the United States,
exclusivity contracts are common, especially for higher-end devices, such as the Moto Q. Cingular had an exclusive period selling the Motorola Razr
, and Sprint was first to get the Palm Treo 650
. For the carrier, exclusivity contracts are a boon, because they'll be the only source of a hot device for a set period. If they're not a Verizon customer already, early adopters and cell phone fanatics eager to get the Motorola Q have to switch to Verizon. And you can bet that many people will do so, even if that means paying a contract-termination fee. On the manufacturer side, I'm not sure the relationship is as beneficial (remember, it's a carrier-dominated market), but they do get a committed vendor that will sell their product.
At the moment, I don't know for sure which other carrier will pick up the Moto Q. Motorola said it is developing a GSM/UMTS version for the United States, but we shouldn't see that until the end of the year. Unfortunately, I can't confirm whether we'll see a Sprint Q, but I'd say there's a very good chance. And in regard to your last question, I agree readily that the Q took ages to come to market, but Motorola was spending much of the time continually refining different elements, such as the keyboard. Secondly, carrier negotiations can take many weeks, as well. And I wouldn't be surprised if there was another reason: the more months we spend speculating on a device such as the Moto Q and the more time we spend recycling the rumor mill, the more hype it gets.