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Click to listen to full quarterly earnings call > HERE

Steve Jobs was a surprise participant on today’s Apple (AAPL) earnings conferece call. Partial transcript below…

Steve Jobs: Hi, everyone. Some remarkable things are happening at Apple but everything is now set against the backdrop of this global economic slowdown, so it seemed like a good time for me to make a few remarks and help answer some of your questions.

I would like to go back and talk about the non-GAAP financial results because I think this is a pretty big deal. In addition to reporting an outstanding quarter, today we are also introducing non-GAAP financial results which eliminate the impact of subscription accounting. As you know, subscription accounting is the solution we adopted to let us provide free software updates to iPhone users under GAAP accounting rules. In accordance with the subscription accounting treatment required by GAAP, Apple recognizes the revenue and the cost of goods sold for the iPhone over its economic life of two years rather than upon sale as we do for Macs and iPods.

Because by its nature subscription accounting spreads the impact of iPhone’s contribution to Apple’s overall sales, gross margin, and net income over two years, it can make it more difficult for the average Apple manager or the average investor to evaluate the company’s overall performance. As long as our iPhone business was small relative to our Mac and music businesses, this didn’t really matter much. But this past quarter, as you heard, our iPhone business has grown to about $4.6 billion, or 39% of Apple’s total business, clearly too big for Apple management or investors to ignore. Hence our introduction today of non-GAAP financial results alongside our reported GAAP results.

As you can see, the non-GAAP financial results are truly stunning. By eliminating subscription accounting, adjusted sales for the quarter were $11.68 billion, 48% higher than the reported revenue of $7.9 billion, while adjusted income was $2.44 billion, 115% higher than the reported net income of $1.14 billion. Adjusted net income that is more than double our reported income — if this isn’t stunning, I don’t know what is, all due to the incredible success of the iPhone 3G.

I would like to now highlight two remarkable milestones resulting from iPhone’s outstanding performance last quarter. The first is that Apple beat RIM. In their most recent quarter, Research in Motion, or RIM, reported selling 6.1 million BlackBerry devices. Compared to our most recent quarter sales of 6.9 million iPhones, Apple outsold RIM last quarter and this is a milestone for us. RIM is a good company that makes good products and so it is surprising that after only 15 months in the market, we could outsell them in any quarter.

But even more remarkable is this — measured by revenues, Apple has become the world’s third-largest mobile phone supplier. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true — as measured in revenues, not units, Apple has become the third largest mobile phone supplier. Let’s look at the ranking — Nokia is clearly number one at 12.7 billion; Samsung number two at 5.9 billion; Apple is number three at 4.6 billion; Sony Ericsson, number four at 4.2; LG, number five at 3.4 billion; Motorola, number six at 3.2; and RIM number seven at 2.1. Pretty amazing.

Now, both of these things, beating RIM in units and becoming the third largest mobile supplier in revenues are amazing feats but part of this was the result of expanding into over 50 countries and there’s no guarantee that sustained sales will equal initial sales. And who knows what the future results will be, given the worldwide economic slowdown but we actually outsold RIM last quarter and ranked as the third largest mobile phone supplier in revenues. Not bad for being in the market for only 15 months.

I would now like to talk about the App Store for a few minutes. One area that where we have completely changed the value proposition for mobile devices is the App Store. Customers will download the 200 millionth application from the App Store tomorrow, only 102 days since its launch on July 11th – the 200 millionth app. We’ve never seen anything like this in our careers. There are now over 5,500 applications offered on the App Store in 62 countries around the world and the rate of new applications being submitted is increasing every week. Competitors are scrambling to copy our App Store but it’s not as easy as it looks and we are far along in creating the virtuous cycle of cool applications begetting more iPhone sales, thereby creating an even larger market which will attract even more iPhone software development. It is clear that customers are now attracted to iPhone not only for its amazing functionality and revolutionary multi-touch user interface but also for its unique ability to let users easily purchase, download, and use thousands of different applications, ranging from free games to financial planning and health management — all of this in only 102 days.

And now I’d like to touch on the notebooks that we just introduced. Last week we introduced our new MacBook and MacBook Pro line. These products are very important since notebooks comprise two-thirds or more of the Macs we sell. These new MacBooks are some of the best products we’ve ever created and it’s already clear that our customers love them. We’ve had a very, very strong launch and we are anxiously awaiting to see the demand trajectory that will unfold during the quarter. The level of quality these products deliver to customers is mind-blowing for their price points. The unibody precision aluminum enclosures would normally cost hundreds of dollars by themselves. The electronics, especially the graphics, are state-of-the-art in mobile computing and features like the glass track pad are unique in the industry. With the introduction of LED backlit displays on these mainstream notebooks, over 90% of the notebooks Apple sells now use LED backlit displays.

Another thing worth noting is that these new notebooks are the greenest products Apple has ever offered. You will hear more and more about that from us in the future.

So now let’s turn to the economy, to the broader market conditions resulting from the global economic slowdown and credit crisis. First, let me say that we are not economists. Your next-door neighbor can likely predict what is going to happen as accurately as we can, but we do know a few things.

First, we have the best customers in the world. I wouldn’t trade our customers for any other company’s customers in the entire world. They are some of the smartest, most product aware customers in the market and they have chosen Apple’s quality, hardware and software products. While they may postpone purchases in tough times, they are unlikely to abandon the quality and seamless integration which they have personally experienced and become accustomed to with Apple’s products. So if the economic downturn does affect them, they are more likely to delay than switch.

Two, we still have a minority market share of the PC market and a miniscule market share of the mobile phone market. While we may not appeal to every prospective customer, the percentage of prospective customers we need to attract in order to significantly increase our market share isn’t that many and we have 250 Apple retail stores that already sell half their Macs to new-to-Mac customers.

Three, we have the best product lineup in Apple’s history. The new MacBooks in particular should trigger a serious upgrade cycle in our installed base. We’ll see. I feel very good about our product lineup as we head into the holidays and beyond.

Four, we have the most talented and creative employees in the world — just look at their results — the new MacBooks, the iMac, the iPhone, the iPod Nano and Touch, Leopard, iLife, and on and on. None of our competitors can deliver products in this class.

And five, we have almost $25 billion safely in the bank and zero debt. This provides us tremendous stability and the ability to invest our way through this downturn. This is what we did during the last downturn — we increased R&D investments and created some of our best new products and businesses, like the Apple retail stores, for one. This downturn may also present some extraordinary opportunities for companies that have the cash to take advantage of them, like Apple does.

In summary, we have the strongest product lineup in Apple’s history, the most talented employees, and the best customers and $25 billion in the bank. We may get buffeted around by the waves a little bit but we will be fine and stronger than ever when the water is calm in the future.

With that, I’d like to open it up for questions for Peter, Tim, or myself.

Click to listen to full quarterly earnings call > HERE

Tim Cook - Apple COO

Peter Oppenheimer - Apple CFO

Peter Oppenheimer - Apple CFO

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The “no deal yet” Subterfuge

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Via Reuters 9/2/2008 … quoting China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou: “Both (Apple Chief Executive) Mr Steve Jobs and myself hope the Apple iPhone can enter China as soon as possible. We are discussing this issue, but we haven’t got an agreement.”

iPhonAsia Comment: Whaaa the?  Wait… That message makes perfect sense. The Chinese need our help! Has he made any Crazy Ivans? 

Huh?

Has he made any Crazy Ivans? 

Yes …

To what side? 

Port. 

The next one’s to Starboard.

Just like in The Hunt for Red October, there’s a subterfuge here.  The Chinese need our help to get acceptance of their new TD-SCDMA 3G standard and iPhone will do just that.  But China also needs to quickly build a TD user-base. Telling the world (now) that Apple and China Mobile have “reached a deal” will only open the floodgates of speculation and ultimately end in a confession that the new “official” iPhone in China will support TD-SCDMA. But this new TD iPhone 3G most likely won’t be ready for distribution until the first quarter of 2009. The problem being that China needs to sell TD-SCDMA handsets today, tomorrow and next week. There are already 30 licensed TD handsets and most are made in China by Chinese manufacturers. The latest to join the party is ZTE, a China powerhouse. Nokia will also have a TD-SCDMA handset … yet Nokia’s distribution timeframe will be similar to Apple’s … early 2009.  But China does not want Apple or Nokia promoting the fact that they will have TD-SCDMA offerings until almost the very moment they are ready for sale. China must sell TD-SCDMA handsets now. So for now we will carry on with the charade … “we haven’t got an agreement.”  And then, suddenly, a deal will be done and out pops a new TD iPhone 3G with almost no gestation period at all.  

See also > Timing of iPhone deal and launch in China

 

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Steve Jobs Calls NYT Columnist a “Slime Bucket”

Joe Nocera

via alleyinsider.com Apple lied about Steve Jobs’ health when it tried to quash concerns about his appearance at the WWDC conference last month, Joe Nocera of the New York Times says. Steve himself also finally weighed in on the matter last week, calling Joe Nocera a “slime bucket.” Full alleyinsider post > HERE

Stanford Commencement Speech >link

EXCERPT from Joe Nocera’s NYT Article 07/26/08:

“On Thursday afternoon, several hours after I’d gotten my final “Steve’s health is a private matter” — and much to my amazement — Mr. Jobs called me. “This is Steve Jobs,” he began. “You think I’m an arrogant [expletive] who thinks he’s above the law, and I think you’re a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong.” After that rather arresting opening, he went on to say that he would give me some details about his recent health problems, but only if I would agree to keep them off the record. I tried to argue him out of it, but he said he wouldn’t talk if I insisted on an on-the-record conversation. So I agreed.”

iPhonAsia comment: So much for “off the record” Joe.  “Slime Bucket” may have been too kind.  You can either laugh or cry when dealing with the Joe Nocera’s of the world.  We prefer laughter. Geek Culture does too.  Didn’t take long to create a Jobsian opening line tool for those special Joe Nocera moments?  Behold! > HERE

iPhonAsia comment to the alleyinsider.com article >

 Dan B (URL) said:

@KenC,              

Very well summed up. Thank you. 

The real story that has been overlooked here is role of hedge funds and other market players in resurfacing this “Steve’s dying” story … timed precisely with Apple’s Q3 earnings. This was clearly no accident. And it’s not okay. It seems that far too many journalist are ignoring the motives of tipsters. Call the NY Post … get Reuters India to run it … now other news-services pick it up and fall in line. Hey we can’t ignore this! We’re journalists afterall. The media got played … again. 

In case anyone missed it. AAPL went round trip 40 points (20 pts down and 20 pts up) in 3 days following the Q3 earnings call. Wanna bet that a few hedge funds had this pre-scripted. It’s too easy when lazy or ignorant journalists play along. 

Who said the following? (excerpts from PR) 
…”Who profits from intentionally false information in the marketplace? Those who are in on the scam and positioned to benefitfrom the predictable response of people who believe the fraudulent information to be true.”…. 
” In the context of a potential “distort and short” campaign aimed at an otherwise sound financial institution, this kind of manipulative activity can have drastic consequences.” 

Answer: Christopher Cox, Chariman SEC on July 24, 2008 > HERE

iPhonAsia comment: As an Apple (AAPL) shareholder and admitted fanboy, I’d like to disclose my pro Apple bias … While I don’t like to disparage, I cannot help but agree with SJ’s “slime-bucket” comment in reference to Joe Nocera (there is no verification that Steve Jobs actually called Nocera, but we’ll grant that “it happened” and the comment/quote is accurate).

The subject of short-selling is somewhat “off topic” for this blog; nonetheless, I’d invite curious iPhonAsia readers to learn more about Joe Nocera and a cabal of journalists who have been good friends to predatory hedge funds and other Street players.  Read more via Mark Mitchell’s article published on deepcapture.com … See > The SEC Declares Emergency, and Joe Nocera Yammers On

Mitchell’s article does a tar and feather job on Joe Noreca and a group of journalists referred to as “the media mob.”  I would like to state that while this article is a stinging indictment of Nocera and other players, I am not convinced (I just don’t know enough) to say that Nocera, Herb Greenberg, et. al. (the “media mob”) are “dirty” in the sense that they are on the take from hedge funds. What I do believe is that many (sadly) in the media make their careers by finding and reporting negative stories … any tidbit, true or not, that can be spun in a negative way is the heroin that feeds their addiction.

Another key player in the article, Jim Chanos, fed “the dirt/scoop” on ENRON to Fortune, and this proved to be a huge win for reporters who were on top of this legitimate scandal early.  Jim Chanos was thereafter a knight of their realm. Black knight or no, from the “media mob’s” perspective, he could do no wrong. I believe Herb Greenbeg, Joe Nocera, and their ilk, are the type that delight in knocking people and companies off a pedestal. They want and need to associate with Street players who can share the inside dirt that lifts their dubious tabloid careers.  What the “media mob” are in denial about IMHO, is their direct contribution to crimes much greater than any “expose” they’ve authored.  They have (my opinion) aided and abetted timed bear raids and malicious naked shorting of stocks by organized criminals.  That is an important expose that is only now beginning to be reported.   

Jim Camer is a special case … perhaps someday (on his deathbed I imagine), he will write a tell-all book.  It will be labeled as “fiction” by those in its crosshairs… It should be a good read. FWIW, I am no fan of Cramer, but he is finally telling it like it is in reference to naked-shorts and FTDs. 

Full article > HERE

This is a subject that I care deeply about … See my open letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox > HERE

MacDailyNews take on Joe Nocera > HERE

 Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech >link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CNBC’s Jim Goldman sat down for a post WWDC 2008 Keynote interview with Steve Jobs … key subjects – 3G iPhone, lower price, SDK & new app store and “I think you’ll see those (China & Russia) happen later this year” 

Discussion points: 3G launch, pricing and market-share + Steve Jobs’ mention of China & Russia + discussion of AAPL performance > HERE

Confirmed: 6 million iPhones sold since initial launch!

Steve Jobs June 9, 2008:

“The two big ones we just didn’t have a chance to get closed were Russia and China… and I think you’ll see those happen later this year… we have to get through the regulatory bodies in China, which we’re in the process of doing, and I think later on this year you’ll hear some announcements. 70 countries is a lot of countries and we’re launching 22 of the biggest on July 11th” 
video interview > HERE

 

 

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Update – January 25, 2008: According to a report via The Boy Genius Report ATT is staging the launch of femtocell service – ATT 3G Microcell. See > HERE

Excerpt: Trials supposedly were underway months ago, but it looks like the launch could be literally around the corner. One of our faithful AT&T ninjas sent us in a screenshot that shows an AT&T 3G Microcell femtocell option in addition to AT&T’s broadband and TV service, U-Verse. We don’t have a date on this yet — we’ll continue to dig — but appearing publicly on employee’s screens is always a good sign! Read full Boy Genius Report > HERE

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Update- February 12, 2008:

The day after this article was posted, Starbucks announced a new Wi-Fi partnership with AT&T. T-Mobile was the incumbent Wi-Fi provider in Starbucks, yet AT&T apparently had more to offer.  We now have a very powerful alliance to deliver high-speed connectivity to millions nationwide.  It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine 7,000 Starbucks locations with new femtocells that beam out Wi-Fi, 3G (HSPA in the U.S.) and Wi-Max.  Oh, by the way, Apple and Starbucks are getting along nicely too. “AT&T will soon extend the benefits of Wi-Fi at Starbucks to its wireless customers.”

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Femtocells and the Future of Mobile – Connect the Dots

 

2146_176x226.jpgIn the next few years I expect to see significant improvements in connection signals/speed of Wi-Fi and many 3G protocols. These signal boosts might be available in many regions of the world by way of femtocell devices (see Wikipedia definiton at the end of this post).  Without getting too technical, femtocells are essentially “in home” cellular base stations that are connected to the Internet and send out “pumped up” wireless signals (encrypted, or public or both).  While using femtocells to boost cellular is not new, many carriers are looking at femtocells as a way to expand Wi-Fi and 3G coverage.

Who are the primary femtocell players?  What are the network protocols (Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, 3G, etc.) that might benefit the most from “in home” femtocells?  How might this impact the use of mobile devices?   Well, this is all clear as mud … yet things are happening now (testing by major carriers) and femtocells might very well catch fire and change the mobile communications landscape.  So I am calling this post “connect the dots” with a few “dots” offered below. 

I’d be interested to hear readers’ views.  Please post a comment as to the potential for femtocells (e.g. “massive” or “meager”) and how this might impact current/future mobile handsets and devices such as iPod touch.  Might we eventually see a new Apple Airport Extreme femtocell?

Okay … Here are a few dots that might eventually connect (feel free to comment back and add your own “dots”) …

DOT: February 11, 2008 - Vodafone and O2 Testing Femtocells - Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone company by revenue, announced today that they are carrying out femtocell technical trials in Spain with both Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei. The femtocell devices are plugged into a customer’s broadband Internet connection and allow users to make calls or use data services with their regular 3G mobile phones. Calls made through the femtocell could be priced more cheaply to encourage consumers to use their mobile phones instead of their fixed-line.

“Femtocells have the potential to enhance customers’ 3G broadband experience, and the trials are critical to investigate whether the technology can deliver on its promise,” Andy MacLeod, Global Networks Director of Vodafone, said in a statement.

DOT: Feb 10, 2008 - O2 trialing device to boost indoor 3G coverage “Our Apple iPhone is already driving unheard-of levels of mobile Internet usage, and the introduction of flat-rate data tariffs is expected to increase this further,” Vivek Dev, chief operating officer of Telefonica O2 Europe said.

DOT: January 22, 2008 - Apple: iPod touch is now a “mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform” EXCERPT: During its quarterly conference call Tuesday, Apple outlined a new vision for the iPod touch, saying it hopes the product will mark the beginning of the first true “Wi-Fi mobile platform.”…… “We believe one of the iPod [touch's] future directions is to become the first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform, running all kinds of mobile applications,” company executives said.

DOT: November 2, 2007 - Apple’s recent talks with Spanish WiFi company FON, which provides country-wide WiFi in many parts of the world via shared WiFi. NOTE: If these talks (Fon/Apple) were leading to some immediate partnership, I doubt that Fon CEO Martin Varsavsky would have opted to post the video below…News Flash: “Steve Jobs brilliant, trim and not very nice”

 brillant-sj2.png

DOT: July 20, 2007 - Google invests in femtocell vendor

Google invests in Ubiquisys and Fon. … Femtocells, an emerging technology for improving cellular coverage in homes and businesses, have attracted the interest of none other than Google Inc.

DOT: July 21, 2007 - Are femtocells with WiFi the future of Fon?

Martin Varsavsky: “At Fon we are researching extending the concept of Fon with WiFi to Fon with 3G and WiFi and I think that this may very well become standard for Fon in the future. Our investors at Google seem to agree as they invested $25 million yesterday in Ubiquisys.”

Femtocell (via Wikipedia): In telecommunications, a femtocell—originally known as an Access Point Base Station—is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. It connects to the service provider’s network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting. A femtocell allows service providers to extend service coverage indoors, especially where access would otherwise be limited or unavailable. The femtocell incorporates the functionality of a typical base station but extends it to allow a simpler, self contained deployment; for example, a UMTS femtocell containing a Node B, RNC and GSN with Ethernet for backhaul. Although much attention is focussed on UMTS, the concept is applicable to all standards, including GSM,CDMA-2000, TD-SCDMA and Wi-Fi and WiMAX solutions.

Detailed review of femtocells > HERE 

 

 

 

 

 

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shaunrein.jpg  Podcast > HERE

Shaun Rein, Founder and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group discusses China Mobile and Apple negotiations (existent or not) to bring iPhone to China.  Shaun talks about the dominant position China Mobile enjoys and shares his insights on the importance of relationship building in Chinese business culture.  Rein notes the popularity of the iPhone, and iPod Touch in China and points out that Apple has substantial opportunities in China. Mr. Rein also talks about China companies using the media to their advantage. The editor of iPhone in Asia agrees with this point…. See Press gets Spun by China Mobile  

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Read more about Shaun Rein and CMR at the China Business Network HERE  

Click HERE to listen to the podcast, or copy/paste link http://chinatalkradio.com/File/ShaunReinChinaMobile011508.mp3

NOTE: This podcast interview was apparently just after the MacWorld 2008 Keynote …  Immediately post MacWorld keynote (January 15, 2008), CNBC’s Jim Goldman interviewed Steve Jobs and asked about the reported “end to talks” with China Mobile.   Steve Jobs said there were no such ongoing negotiations.  Jobs noted that there has been only one China Mobile representative that has visited Apple’s Cupertino HQ and that meeting took place months ago.  

My guess … There have been some preliminary chats but “negotiations” (serious back and forth over a contract) have yet to happen.  

From the Jim Goldman video interview (regarding China Mobile) … Steve Jobs: “It’s very strange … we’ve met once with one of their representatives.  There have never been any ‘hot and heavy’ discussions either ‘on’ or ‘off’ … someone is just making this stuff up.”  See Video Here  

chinamobilelogo1.jpg    sjobs-interview.png

China Mobile’s General Manager Data Services, Gao Nianshu, was later quoted as saying that the two (Apple and China Mobile) companies took part in at least two rounds of talks. Despite the failure to agree, preparations were underway for further negotiations, he said, without providing any detail.

At the recent Davos Forum, China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou was quoted: “We’ve not started any formal negotiations with Apple. The door is open to all for discussions about fashionable phones.” 

 

 

download podcast 

 

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CNBC’s Jim Goldman conducted a post MacWorld Keynote interview with Steve Jobs.  Goldman asked Jobs about the reported “end to talks” with China Mobile. Steve Jobs Exclusive – See Video Here 

For the complete iPhone in China back-story with updates see here – China Mobile and Apple – The 2008 iPhone Games 

CNBC’s Jim Goldman sits down with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
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CNBC’s Jim Goldman just concluded a post MacWorld Keynote interview with Steve Jobs.  Goldman asked Jobs about the reported “end to talks” with China Mobile.   According to Goldman, Steve Jobs said there were no such ongoing negotiations.  He noted that there has been only one China Mobile representative that has visited Apple’s Cupertino HQ and that meeting took place months ago.  

My guess … There have been some preliminary chats but “negotiations” (serious back and forth over a contract) have yet to happen.  

AT&T made an iPhone deal with Apple without the benefit of dissecting the product.  They put their faith in Apple and were rewarded.  China Mobile may not take this approach.  China (Nation/State) and China Mobile have made their new 3G (TD-SCDMA) network a priority (albeit a full-scale TD-SCDMA launch will likely be deferred until 2009).  China Mobile will demand that the new iPhone support their new 3G network.  And China Mobile may want “hands on” testing time with the new 3G iPhone before they hold serious contract talks.  Apple almost certainly has the new 3G model under lock-in-key in Cupertino.  While the new model may be relatively refined, Apple may not be ready to let China Mobile engineers run network tests with their new “oh so gorgeous” baby … just yet.

There is clearly more to this story so stay tuned.   The Goldman video interview should be queued up later today and we’ll hear directly from Steve Jobs.

10-15-07-iphone1.jpg 

Update 1:

Paraphrasing Jim Goldman’s interview with Steve Jobs …

Regarding China Mobile

Steve Jobs:It’s very strange … we’ve met once with one of their representatives.  There have never been any ‘hot and heavy’ discussions either ‘on’ or ‘off’ … someone is just making this stuff up.”

 

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BusinessWeek’s Bruce Einhorn (Hong Kong Bureau) has penned a new article on the state of Apple iPhone negotiations in China. Apple Loses a Big One in China

Bruce is a bit more pessimistic, than I, in his view that negotiations with China Mobile have (conclusively) ended.  His piece outlines Apple’s secondary partnership options (China Unicom, China Telecom and China Netcom).  Towards the end of his article, Einhorn notes that the TD-SCDMA launch in China may not happen this summer.  I concur.  Based on feedback that I have received from telecommunications sources in Beijing, it appears that the new TD-SCDMA network is further behind than many have suggested and will not “go live” this summer.  It is possible, however, that we will see a partial rollout this August in one or more of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games’ cities.  This will be a showcase of the new China 3G technology, with full TD-SCDMA deployment deferred until 2009.

As I have noted in other posts, the new “in development” 3G Apple iPhone will likely support multiple 3G protocols plus WiMax (4G).  And launching iPhone in China will NOT be dependent on readiness on TD-SCDMA. Hence iPhone can be launched in China later this year.

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