updated 03:35 pm EDT, Thu October 23, 2008
MS exec on iPhone sales
People should not be too impressed by sales figures for the iPhone, argues a Microsoft executive. Robbie Bach, who operates the Entertainment & Devices Division which produces Windows Mobile, says that while Apple's quoted shipments of almost 6.9 million iPhones are certainly impressive, the true test of the product will be if it can maintain sales momentum over the long term. The fact that Apple outsold chief rival Research in Motion in the last quarter is not as important as it might initially appear, Bach notes.
"Apple had a big launch of a new product, and they launched at scale in a lot of new countries with a lot of new operators," he says. "This quarter, RIMM [sic] is having its big launch, and at some point we'll have our big launch. We'll have to see where things normalize."
RIM is preparing the American launch of the BlackBerry Bold for November 4th, and the release of the touchscreen-based BlackBerry Storm for sometime this fall.
Apple also faces an inherent market limit to iPhone sales, Bach suggests, mainly because carriers prefer to have several kinds of phones on sale to cater to different preferences. "Does AT&T like having iPhone on its network? Sure. But they want to have balance in that ecosystem, where there's three or four big partners," says Bach. "That's why we're so attactive to them -- because we work with Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, HTC, Motorola. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is a cool device. But it's not about choice."