Report: Motorola ROKR iTunes phone ‘may have flopped’ with six times the returns versus normal rate

“Motorola Inc.’s iTunes music phone, developed with Apple Computer Inc. and unveiled last month in front of an audience of more than 500, may have flopped,” Bloomberg reports. “As many as six times more customers are returning the Rokr phones than is normal for new handsets, according to American Technology Research analyst Albert Lin, who said he talked to distributors, retailers and call center workers at Cingular Wireless LLC, which sells the phone.”

Bloomberg reports., “Motorola Chief Executive Officer Ed Zander said he is disappointed with the phone’s marketing and plans to fix it. ‘We got off to a little bit of a rough start,’ Zander said in an interview after Motorola reported on Oct. 18 that third- quarter profit tripled, driven by more-popular phones such as the Razr. ‘People were looking for an iPod and that’s not what it is. We may have missed the marketing message there.'”

“Zander said the Schaumburg, Illinois-based company didn’t make it clear enough that the Rokr stores fewer songs than an iPod. The phone holds 100 songs and costs $249.99 with a two-year contract from Cingular. The iPod Nano, introduced the same day, holds 1,000 songs and costs about the same,” Bloomberg reports. “Motorola sold 250,000 iTunes phones in the weeks it was on sale last quarter, or about 83,000 a week. About 6.5 million Razr phones were sold during the entire quarter, or about 500,000 a week. Lin said Rokr’s sales matched estimates, though the high rate of customers returning the phone means it won’t be a ‘superstar product.'”

“‘The Rokr is performing equal or better to any product launch and I don’t have anything that would corroborate’ higher returns, said Alan Buddendeck, a Motorola spokesman. Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Cingular, the biggest U.S. mobile-phone service provider and the only U.S. carrier sells the iTunes model, said the company is ‘satisfied with the results of the sales.’ Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment,” Bloomberg reports.

Full article here.

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Anyone outside of Schaumburg surprised?

Related article:
How Apple’s Steve Jobs snookered the entire cell phone industry – October 03, 2005
Apple iPod division head: iPod and mobile phones best left separate – September 27, 2005
If Apple isn’t working on their own iPhone, they’re making a stupid mistake – September 12, 2005
Does Apple need a mobile phone of its own design? – September 09, 2005

Motorola CEO Zander: Apple to build a smart phone, it’s only a matter of time – September 29, 2005
Motorola says ‘screw nano’ comment was joke – September 26, 2005
Motorola CEO Ed Zander on Apple iPod nano: ‘Screw the nano’ – September 26, 2005

Fortune’s Lewis: Apple iTunes software the only cute thing about Motorola’s ROKR mobile phone – September 21, 2005
Consumer Reports: Apple’s iPod nano ‘sizzles,’ Motorola ROKR mobile phone ‘fizzles’ – September 21, 2005
BBC: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone design ‘feels like yesterday’s phone by UK standards’ – September 17, 2005
Hands on review of Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone – September 12, 2005
Motorola ROKR iTunes-enabled mobile phone greeted with cool response – September 12, 2005
Music phones pose no threat to Apple iPod – September 09, 2005
USA Today: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone provides ‘snazzy’ first impression – September 08, 2005
NYT’s Pogue: Motorola ROKR iTunes phone ‘great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun’ – September 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Apple announces Motorola ROKR iTunes phone, Cingular partnership, iTunes 5 – September 07, 2005
Apple, Motorola & Cingular debut world’s first iTunes mobile phone – September 07, 2005
Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone availability dates for Europe, North America, and Asia – September 07, 2005


  1. I’d trust any “research” conducted by those clowns at ATR – the home of Shaw “Wong Way” Wu who said that his investigations showed Nano sales were disappointing and to sell Apple shares – about as much as I’d trust Bill Gates alone in a room with my Powerbook. These guys are a waste of space.

  2. Excuse me gentelmen. But people don’t want the “Roker” BECAUSE IT’S F-ING UGLY!

    You apparently don’t get it. People LOVE the iPod because IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND FUNCTIONAL.

    Figure it out and get on the same page as Steve Jobs – or at least try.

  3. Yes, the ROKR is not the most attractive or appealing phone, but it’s the price which is the issue. What reason could they possibly have for charging $249 with a 2 YEAR committment? That’s insane.

    The 100 song limit would be perfectly acceptable at an iPod shuffle like price, not the Nano price point (as mentioned in the article).

  4. Nice to see these corp heads with all their limitations and crippled products suck air.

    The consumer rules; you don’t rule them – get it!

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  5. yes i agree with Tommo….
    American Technology Research is a joke…consistantly wrong

    i think they’re busisness model is to say whatever will get some web hits/press quotes

    these days anything contra Apple related gets the headline

  6. They will get it right with RAZR + iTunes. I think Apple is also not happy that Motorola introduced iTunes client with such a lacking phone. Steve wants RAZR + iTunes, but Motorola just couldn’t deliver on time – just like in the good old chip days.

  7. com’om people!!!! who pays for a phone?????

    the Rokr is FREE!!!!!!!!! with a 2 year cingular contract at…. for that matter so is a RAZR …. and no i dont work for them just amazed that folks actually still pay for cell phones??!?!?!

    a fool and their money…..

  8. of course.. outside of the Engadget elite.. most people don’t think the phone is ugly, and dont think 100 song cap on something like a phone is a big deal.

    we’re used to having shit battery life/storage on a phone so..

    the only problem is, it’s not a flip phone.. the RAZR will be shweet..

    iTunes integration is fsckin cool btw

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