“Motorola’s much-ballyhooed Rokr music phone–a joint venture with Apple Computer–has posted disappointing sales since hitting store shelves almost a month ago, says a report issued Tuesday by a stock brokerage,” Mike Hughlett reports for The Chicago Tribune. “The Rokr is the first of a line of Motorola phones that allows users to download music from Apple’s popular iTunes Web site, where songs cost 99 cents. The phone is the first iTunes-compatible portable music player, aside from Apple’s mega-selling iPod.”

“Stock analyst Mike Walkley at Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray & Co. found ‘mixed to negative reviews of the much anticipated Rokr phone’ in his monthly survey of phone retailers, which was released Tuesday,” Hughlett reports. “Some stores noted strong early sales of the Rokr, but more stores were ‘indicating disappointment in the product,’ Walkley wrote in a research note. He surveys more than 100 stores in major U.S. cities. Walkley said weak Rokr sales in the near term shouldn’t hurt Motorola’s earnings. He and other analysts see music phones as a long-term opportunity, and they expect many different models from Schaumburg-based Motorola.”

Hughlett reports, “Motorola declined to release sales data on the inaugural iTunes phone, saying the company is in a ‘quiet period’ before releasing its third-quarter earnings. However, Motorola spokeswoman Monica Rohleder said Tuesday, ‘We are very excited about the product.’ Atlanta-based Cingular also declined to divulge sales figures. But Jennifer Bowcock, a Cingular spokeswoman, said the company was ‘pleased’ with the Rokr’s launch and that nationally, sales were meeting expectations… Retailers surveyed by Walkley cited ‘form factor’ as one reason behind disappointing sales. That’s industry talk for a how a cell phone looks and feels. ‘The first Rokr just doesn’t have that ‘coolness’ factor,’ Walkley said.”

Full article here.

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