iPhone Among Bright Spots In 1Q '09

By  Susan Nunziata — April 27, 2009

ABI Research reports that 258 million mobile phone handsets were shipped worldwide in Q1 2009, down 11% from the same period in 2008.

The iPhone, which represents 1.5% of the global handset market, is credited with elevating Apple's profits 15% to $1.21 billion for the three months ended March 31, 2009 (the company's second fiscal quarter).

More Than 1 Billion Served
A 13-year-old boy won $10,000 in prizes for downloading the one-billionth application from the Apple App store, which now has about 35,000 different applications available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

There's one fewer app in the mix, though, after Apple decided to pull the Baby Shaker game and issued a public apology. As the name implies, the goal  of the game from Sikalosoft is to silence a crying baby, which is done by vigorously shaking the phone.

Handset Maker Worldwide Market Share, 1Q 2009

 Nokia  36.2%
 Samsung  17.8%
 LG  8.8%
 Sony Ericsson  5.6%
Research In Motion 3.0%
Apple
1.5%
Source: ABI Research

Distasteful downloads notwithstanding, the iPhone reportedly helped offset what could have been a more serious decline for its U.S. wireless carrier, AT&T.

The carrier's profits were down 9.7% compared with the same period in 2008. Net income for the three months ended March 31, 2009, was $31 billion, compared with $3.5 billion in the same period the previous year.

AT&T may soon face another contender for U.S. iPhone market share. Verizon is reportedly in talks with Apple to have an iPhone available as early as next year.

Some argue that Verizon is doing just fine without the Apple phone.
Indeed, Verizon's results, announced April 27, 2009, beat some analyst expectations. The carrier reportedly added 1.3 million net wireless customers, bringing it to a total of 86.6 million mobile subs. Wireless sales were up 29.6%, helped along by the company's purchase of Alltel Corp. Verizon's profit rose 5.3% for the quarter

Sprint is due to announce its 1Q 2009 results May 4 .

T-Mobile's parent, Deutsche Telekom, reports full earnings on May 7, 2009, but the company cut its outlook in April.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile's sales of the HTC G1 Android phone reportedly reached 1 million units in the U.S. in April 2009, six months after it first went on sale.

In its third quarter, which ended March 31, Microsoft profit fell for the first time in 23 years. Revenue fell 6% to $13.65 billion from $14.45 billion in the same period in 2008.

The decline is attributed, in part, to the surge in popularity of netbooks over traditional PCs. Microsoft ships a discounted version of Windows XP for netbooks, which is causing a decline in the average selling price of Windows.

Microsoft is reportedly due to launch Windows Mobile 6.5 on May 11, with the first handsets using the OS due on the marketing in Q3 2009.

Some Handset Makers Belie Expectations

One analyst called Research In Motion's results for the quarter "wildly better than what we were looking for."

For the three months that ended Feb. 28, which is RIM's fiscal 4Q, revenue grew 84% to $3.46 billion, from $188 billion in the same period a year ago. The company added 3.9 million BlackBerry subscribers in its 4Q, bringing the total number of subscribers to 25 million. RIM's current quarter ends May 30, during which it expects to add another 3.7 million - 3.9 million subs.

Samsung Electronics posted a Q1 operating profit of $349 million for the quarter. The mobile phone business helped drive the company's profitability. Samsung's share of the global handset market topped 18% in the period, and its telecom division earned $833 million on sales of $7.26 billion.

Samsung unveiled its first Android phone, the I7500, which will be sold in Europe beginning in June 2009. It's reportedly one of 20 smartphones the handset maker has on tap for this year.

LG Electronic's handset sales were down 7% to 22.6 million in 1Q 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. Operating profit for LG's handset unit fell 41% in Q1 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.

Nokia's handset shipments slumped 19% in Q1 compared with the same period in 2008, while sales dropped 27%.

At Palm, smartphone sales were down 72% in January-March 2009 (the company's fiscal 3Q) compared with the same period in 2008.

Despite the grim results, reviews and rumors about the Palm Pre were lighting up blogs and generating plenty of tweets -- a total of 33 million online mentions so far. 

Motorola's 1Q 09 results are due April 30.



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