Apple surpasses goal of 10 million iPhones sold in 2008; outsells RIM in September quarter

Hammacher Homepage 300x250Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2008. Apple’s quarterly iPhone units sold were 6,892,000 compared to 1,119,000 in the year-ago-quarter.

“Apple just reported one of the best quarters in its history, with a spectacular performance by the iPhone—we sold more phones than RIM,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement today.

Jobs made a rare special appearance during Apple’s conference call to discuss the company’s stellar financial results and said of the recent crop of iPhone wannabes, “We are way out ahead of everybody and, with the most talented people in the world, we’ll stay that way. We are committed to making iPhone the best value for customers.”

“Apple beat RIM,” Jobs said. “Apple outsold RIM last quarter… after only 15 months in the market.” 6.9m iPhones vs. 6.1m total RIM BlackBerry phones. “RIM is a good company that makes good products. Beating them is remarkable,” Jobs added.

Jobs also reported that, measured by revenue, Apple has become the world’s 3rd largest mobile phone supplier:
1. Nokia, $12.7b
2. Samsung, $5.9b
3. Apple, $4.6b
4. Sony/Ericsson , $4.2b
5. LG, $3.4b
6. Moto, $3.2b
7. RIM, $2.1b

And, now, we fire up iCal and reveal some of the many wonders it holds!

In a perfect world, the next quote you’d hear from the following buffoons would be, “You want fries with that?”

• “[iPhone] just doesn’t matter anymore. There are now alternatives to the iPhone, which has been introduced everywhere else in the world. It’s no longer a novelty.” – Eamon Hoey, Hoey and Associates, April 30, 2008

• “We are not at all worried. We think we’ve got the one mobile platform you’ll use for the rest of your life. [Apple] are not going to catch up.” – Scott Rockfeld, Microsoft Mobile Communications Group Product Manager, April 01, 2008

• “Microsoft, with Windows Mobile/ActiveSync, Nokia with Intellisync, and Motorola with Good Technology have all fared poorly in the enterprise. We have no reason to expect otherwise from Apple.” – Peter Misek, Canaccord Adams analyst, March 07, 2008

• “[Apple should sell 7.9 million iPhones in 2008]… Apple’s goal of selling 10 million iPhones this year is optimistic.” – Toni Sacconaghi, Bernstein Research analyst, February 22, 2008

• “What does the iPhone offer that other cell phones do not already offer, or will offer soon? The answer is not very much… Apple’s stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 seems ambitious.” – Laura Goldman, LSG Capital, May 21, 2007

• Motorola’s then-Chairman and then-CEO Ed Zander said his company was ready for competition from Apple’s iPhone, due out the following month. “How do you deal with that?” Zander was asked at the Software 2007 conference. Zander quickly retorted, “How do they deal with us?” – Ed Zander, May 10, 2007

• “The iPhone is going to be nothing more than a temporary novelty that will eventually wear off.” – Gundeep Hora, CoolTechZone Editor-in-Chief, April 02, 2007

• “Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone… What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures… Otherwise I’d advise people to cover their eyes. You are not going to like what you’ll see.” – John C. Dvorak, Bloated Gas Bag, March 28, 2007

• “Even if [the iPhone] is opened up to third parties, it is difficult to see how the installed base of iPhones can reach the level where it becomes a truly attractive service platform for operator and developer investment.” – Tony Cripps, Ovum Service Manager for Mobile User Experience, March 14, 2007

• “I’m more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular… iPhone may well become Apple’s next Newton.” – David Haskin, Computerworld, February 26, 2007

• “There’s an old saying — stick to your knitting — and Apple is not a mobile phone manufacturer, that’s not their knitting… I think people overreacted to it — there was not a lot of tremendously new stuff if you think about it.” – Greg Winn, Telstra’s operations chief, February 15, 2007

• “Consumers are not used to paying another couple hundred bucks more just because Apple makes a cool product. Some fans will buy [iPhone], but for the rest of us it’s a hard pill to swallow just to have the coolest thing.” – Neil Strother, NPD Group analyst, January 22, 2007

• “I can’t believe the hype being given to iPhone… I just have to wonder who will want one of these things (other than the religious faithful)… So please mark this post and come back in two years to see the results of my prediction: I predict they will not sell anywhere near the 10M Jobs predicts for 2008.” – Richard Sprague, Microsoft Senior Marketing Director, January 18, 2007

• “The iPhone’s willful disregard of the global handset market will come back to haunt Apple.” – Tero Kuittinen,, January 18, 2007

• “[Apple’s iPhone] is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine… So, I, I kinda look at that and I say, well, I like our strategy. I like it a lot.” – Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, January 17, 2007

• “The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant… Apple is unlikely to make much of an impact on this market… Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.” – Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg, January 15, 2007

• “iPhone which doesn’t look, I mean to me, I’m looking at this thing and I think it’s kind of trending against, you know, what’s really going, what people are really liking on, in these phones nowadays, which are those little keypads. I mean, the Blackjack from Samsung, the Blackberry, obviously, you know kind of pushes this thing, the Palm, all these… And I guess some of these stocks went down on the Apple announcement, thinking that Apple could do no wrong, but I think Apple can do wrong and I think this is it.” – John C. Dvorak, Bloated Gas Bag, January 13, 2007

• “I am pretty skeptical. I don’t think [iPhone] will meet the fantastic predictions I have been reading. For starters, while Apple basically established the market for portable music players, the phone market is already established, with a number of major brands. Can Apple remake the phone market in its image? Success is far from guaranteed.” – Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, January 11, 2007

• “Apple will launch a mobile phone in January, and it will become available during 2007. It will be a lovely bit of kit, a pleasure to behold, and its limited functionality will be easy to access and use. The Apple phone will be exclusive to one of the major networks in each territory and some customers will switch networks just to get it, but not as many as had been hoped. As customers start to realise that the competition offers better functionality at a lower price, by negotiating a better subsidy, sales will stagnate. After a year a new version will be launched, but it will lack the innovation of the first and quickly vanish. The only question remaining is if, when the iPod phone fails, it will take the iPod with it.” – Bill Ray, The Register, December 26, 2006

• “The economics of something like [an Apple iPhone] aren’t that compelling.” – Rod Bare, Morningstar analyst, December 08, 2006

• “Apple is slated to come out with a new phone… And it will largely fail…. Sales for the phone will skyrocket initially. However, things will calm down, and the Apple phone will take its place on the shelves with the random video cameras, cell phones, wireless routers and other would-be hits… When the iPod emerged in late 2001, it solved some major problems with MP3 players. Unfortunately for Apple, problems like that don’t exist in the handset business. Cell phones aren’t clunky, inadequate devices. Instead, they are pretty good. Really good.” – Michael Kanellos, CNET, December 07, 2006

• “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” – Ed Colligan, Palm CEO, November 16, 2006


  1. Dear MDN:
    Please feel free to include iCal’d links to all those naysayers 15 months ago who scoffed at the temerity of Apple stating their sales goal of 10 million iPhones by end of 2008 (later amended to just calendar year 2008)!
    I just can’t wait to hear their explanations. But I’m sure there will be a deafening silence!

  2. Yeah, I’m also waiting to hear what those naysayers have to say. I agree that it won’t be much. They’ll probably shift their criticism from Apple and the iPhone to those of us who bought them, claiming that we don’t have any sense. It’ll be interesting to see what the final number for the year will be.

  3. Well, they could mention that 2M of those sales are to fill the inventory channel! But, it’s no different than Dell filling the retail PC channel the previous two quarters and taking credit for renewed growth.

  4. @KenC

    I thought Apple didn’t count sales until bought by the end user? Regardless of whether the 2 million in the channel are counted in the sales to date or not—and I suspect not—they represent less than six weeks supply. There are thirteen weeks left to be counted in calendar 2008. Apple made the target everyone said they couldn’t.

  5. @Passerby, phones sold to retailers count as sold when shipped.

    It’s okay, but one has to account for channel inventory, that’s why analysts ask every conference call. For example, MS has a history of stuffing the channel to meet sales predictions. Dell, built out their retail channel this year, and of course, got a bump from doing that, which people interpreted as Dell having reversed its course, when it had not.

    Apple is getting a 2M iPhone bump, but its channel level is normal. If you have 30,000 points of sale, you got to have 4 to 5 weeks of inventory. That’s normal, just be aware that inventory buildout gives you a bump. I estimated 1M additional iPhones due to inventory buildout, but apparently it was 2M!!!

  6. The Naysayers are too busy riding the wave of financial chaos now flooding the non-Apple markets to have anything meaningful to say. On another note, their inability to “see the future” is impressive indeed. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  7. I’m suspicious that Apple reported the non GAAP earnings for the first time today not because “39% of revenue for the iPhone was too much to ignore” but because of a plan joyfully crafted by the executives to get back at the hedge funds and other shorts that Jobs felt had been plaguing the company’s stock the last few months. According to the after market results the plan has been highly successful so far. Additional shorts are getting squeezed that can’t trade in the aftermarket and have to wait for the regular market to open tomorrow before coving their short positions. It’s going to be something to watch.

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