Motorola coy with iTunes phone

Company does not show handset at CTIA because, while Motorola displays products before they're available, Steve Jobs does not. Photos: The Razr and other handsets

Tech Culture
NEW ORLEANS--Motorola did not show upcoming phones designed to work with Apple Computer's iTunes digital music service at a recent tech show because of the pair's differing approach to launching new products, executives from Motorola said Tuesday.

Motorola, the world's No. 2 mobile phone maker, also revealed its plans for delivering phones to Sprint, and its hopes for selling its popular Razr phone to more U.S. companies.

In response to a question about why Motorola did not show its upcoming iTunes phone at the CeBit technology fair in Germany, Motorola said it tends to display its products before they go on the market but that Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, does not.

"The first thing you're seeing here is a merger of two different industries with different ideas of launching products," Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's mobile phone division, told analysts and reporters at a news conference at the CTIA wireless show taking place here.

"Steve's perspective is that you launch a product on Sunday and sell it on Monday," he added.

Garriques said Motorola is on schedule to deliver two phones that can play music downloaded from the

He also downplayed a question about whether the reason Motorola did not unveil the phones at CeBit was because of a disagreement with mobile phone carriers.

"I've got lots of carriers fighting to be the first one we go with," Garriques said in an interview.

Many analysts believe that phones that can play and store music will be hugely popular among consumers because of the popularity of Apple's standalone iPod music player.

But others say such phones will be less popular with carriers because they believe consumers will be more likely to download music to their phones via their computer rather pay more to operators by downloading directly over a wireless connection.

"I've got lots of carriers fighting to be the first one we go with."
-- Ron Garriques
President, mobile phone
division, Motorola

Garriques would not give any details about the long-awaited iTunes phones, but he laid out some of Motorola's U.S. plans.

Motorola hopes to deliver three phones to Sprint in the fourth quarter for the No. 3 U.S. operator to begin testing them for use on its network. Garriques said two of the phones would be "more traditional," but he did not give details.

Motorola has been trying for a long time to build up a relationship with Sprint, which has tended to favor other mobile phone makers over Motorola in the past.

Motorola, the main technology supplier to Nextel Communications, has high hopes their relationship will improve after Sprint buys Nextel later this year.

Garriques said he also hopes in the fourth quarter this year to deliver a version of Motorola's flagship Razr phone to U.S. operators running CDMA networks. But Motorola has not included this phone model in its financial guidance for 2005, as delivery could slip into the first quarter of 2006, he said.

Garriques told analysts on the fringes of the conference that sales of CDMA versions of the Razr phone would bring lower profit margins than GSM sales of the same product because it costs $25 more to build CDMA phones than to build GSM phones.

CDMA customers will want to pay the same price as GSM customers, Garriques said. Cingular Wireless, which uses GSM technology in its network, is currently the only U.S. operator selling the Razr.

Garriques also said Motorola expects to have about four to six phones models on the market this year that work on both cellular networks and Wi-Fi, a short range network technology.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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