Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto offers Apple advice about managing iPhone expectations

“Apple could learn a thing or two about managing expectations,” Neil Cavuto opines for Fox News.

“The company announced its hotsy-totsy iPhone was going to revolutionize the world — bad when you start out using that word ‘revolutionize,’ by the way,” Cavuto writes. “That it would sell 10 million in the first year and half a million of those in the first couple of days —days!”

“Lo and behold, we’re told 146,000 iPhones were activated in the day and a half between the phone’s launch and the most recent quarter’s end,” Cavuto writes.

“Let me tell you something: Selling 146,000 items at a minimum of 500 bucks a pop ain’t shabby. In fact, it’s stunning. Never in corporate history, have so many electronic devices sold so quickly,” Cavuto writes.

Cavuto asks, “But then it didn’t meet that damn expectation, did it? It didn’t do what that overbearing braggart marketing department at Apple said it would do, did it?”

Cavuto writes, “Oh, if only these much smarter guys had talked to this admittedly not nearly so smart, anchor guy: Promise down, deliver up.”

Full article, under the title of “Common Sense,” no less here.
Neil Cavuto is “Managing Editor of Business News for FOX News Channel” which is akin to being “Chief Astrophysicist for The Weekly World News,” except that, unfortunately, Cavuto will probably still be employed next month.

First off, Cavuto did royally screw up and miraculously get one thing right: Apple CEO Steve Jobs did call the iPhone “revolutionary.” Jobs did so because it is, but you shouldn’t expect Cavuto to be able to recognize it so soon – he’ll probably be able to grasp it in about five years. Call us crazy, but we’ll take Steve Jobs’ crystal ball on technology over Neil Cavuto’s.

So, what did Cavuto get wrong? Only everything else:

• Apple never announced they “would sell 10 million in the first year.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in his Macworld Expo 2007 keynote address that Apple would set the goal of selling 10 million iPhone units in 2008, the first full year on the market. (Macworld Expo 2007 iPhone Introduction: Jobs’ remarks on iPhone goals begin at 1:15:52 into the QuickTime video – by the way, Neil, that’s called a “source.”) On July 25, 2007, during Apple’s conference call discussing Q3 – 2007 financial results, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer reiterated Apple’s goal of selling 10 million iPhone units in 2008. (Apple’s Q3 07 Apple Quarterly Results Call: Oppenheimer’s remarks on iPhone goals begin at 6:05 into the QuickTime audio stream – by the way, Neil, that’s called “fact checking.”)

• Apple never announced that they would sell “half a million [iPhones] in the first couple of days.”

• Since there were no such expectations issued by “that overbearing braggart marketing department at Apple,” iPhone didn’t miss any “damn expectations” other than some wildly overreaching ones set by Wall Street analysts who may or may not have stood to benefit if Apple “failed” to meet their ginned up, ridiculous, unachievable numbers. Hint: Wall Street analysts are the ones about whom you’re actually complaining, Neil. Some free advice: An overbearing TV anchor’s totally misplaced criticism doled out under the title of “Common Sense” should be a skit on Saturday Night Live, not Fox News Channel – unless FNC’s looking for lighter fare.

• Yes, AT&T stated that 146,000 iPhones were activated in the day and a half, but Cavuto immediately mistakes “activations” for “sales.” Apple did not sell “146,000 items at a minimum of 500 bucks a pop,” they sold 270,000. Even less “shabby,” huh, Neil? (Source: Apple Inc. Q3 2007 Unaudited Summary Data issued along with the Q3 07 earnings results press release.) It’s not that confusing, Neil, but you did admit in your full piece that you were “an awful student,” which we actually believe – even though you said it.

• Apple has set just two iPhone goals: 1 million iPhone units sold by the end of the company’s Q4 07 quarter ending September 29, 2007 and 10 million iPhone units sold in 2008. We shall see if they hit those goals.

Neil, check your facts before you pontificate, lest you look the fool. It’s just “common sense.”

Contact info:
Neil Cavuto:


  1. Coulda been worse, we could have had Bill O’Reilly declare a “hate site” and issued a fatwa against using any Apple products. Billo can do this because he is so much superior to the rest of us in terms of morality and rational, measured discourse.

    Just ask Andrea Mackris.

  2. I wish MDN would stop attacking people who criticise Apple with regards to the iPhone. I think some criticism is good, and valid, with the iPhone.

    For instance, the device only being 2.5G (GSM + GPRS/EDGE) is a valid criticism. Most other developed countries in the world are moving to 3.5G (UMTS + HSDPA) with GSM being a ‘fallback’ for International Interoperability – Japan (for example) only has 3G, with Australia fast going the same way (as with most of Asia, with Europe following the same path). The tag-line continually thrown out by Apple (COO Tim Cook) that:

    “Our thinking was first and foremost that we wanted GSM because GSM was the world standard and that was one of the factors in the selection of Cingular. Secondly, the product as we announced it has wireless capabilities. Many people, like in this room, have access to WiFi, including this room, home, where you have coffee. Between this spots we are going to use 2.5G because it’s widely deployed. We’re confident that it will give the user a great experience.”

    This may be a valid model for US, but it certainly is not a valid model outside the US as most Telco’s are moving on from 2.5G Networks to 3G/3.5G.

    The statement quoted above … ” … revolutionize the world …” is a valid criticism … Apple may have a slickest UI device, but it will be the slowest device in the World without 3G/3.5G.

    I guess I am trying to say that some criticism is good … as the device is clearly lacking for the International stage. Correct the cellular connectivity shortcomings, and the iPhone will be the “revolutionize the world”.

    MDN Word: Truth … as it is hard to hear sometimes, but necessary.

  3. I don’t understand how he confused activations with unit sales, especially when AT&T announced one and Apple announced the other.

    I guess it’s like Microsoft harping on how many copies of Vista they’ve shipped instead of talking about how many have actually sold…

    Both instances are focused on the wrong part of the equation.

  4. @AJ
    The tag line “thrown out” by Tim Cook, pretty much sums it up, , for the USA market, where it has been released!, I am sure we will see other, for other market.

    Your remark has nothing to do with the article, he doesn’t have his fact straight, as MDN stated

  5. So I watched his short bit on Apple tonight and truth be told, it didn’t come off half as bad as everyone here makes it. He mentioned the 270,000 sales and the activations. MDN needs to fill in just a little bit more of the quotes next time. I agree the iPhone is revolutionary guys, and Apple’s sales prove it.

  6. Interesting to see Towertone’s response.
    Now I know how he informs himself.
    Fox News is nothing but Pravda.
    If you can’t see that, then welcome to your future, comrade.
    Just like Pravda, replacing any critical insight and analysis with fluff pieces designed to prop up a corrupt government.
    Who’d have thought the US would become the next totalitarian state? And even more surprisingly, how the people would so quickly accept it.
    Home of the brave? Home of the dimwits.

    As the saying goes: people get the governments they deserve.

  7. I’m pretty sure that the 270,000 didnt include sales from the online store either. Just over the counter sales…AND they dont include the sunday. Just 6pm-closing on Friday and Saterday…only one retail outlet was open 24/7 and that was the flagship in NY.

    AND they virtually sold out in every store. in 30 hours of trading…i’d say more than ‘stunning’. Moreover, Apple didn’t promise anything except delivering a great product, which clearly they have sold that idea effectively…times about 270,000.


Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.