Apple's deal with China Mobile not set as reported

Just a few weeks ago came news that Apple (AAPL) had closed a long-expected relationship with China Mobile, the largest wireless carrier in the world and that an announcement would come around Dec. 18. It seems that the report, originally from the Wall Street Journal, was premature.

Although portrayed as a done deal, China Mobile says that it is still in talks with Apple about carrying the iPhone. A full deal could be worth billions to Apple and provide an important source of growth for the company. China Mobile expects to sell between 190 million and 220 million handsets next year. It would take less than 10 percent to give Apple a big revenue boost.

And Apple investors had more bad news today: A major iPhone parts supplier offered weaker than expected guidance for the upcoming quarter, leading Citigroup analyst Glen Yeung to wonder whether this could mean a significant impact on Apple's revenue for the quarter ending in March.

Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um called the China Mobile news a "non-issue," as he expected that the carrier would eventually come to terms with Apple.

Apple's stock was down 0.76 percent for the day. Investors are particularly sensitive to Apple's growth prospects. The company's financial performance has been almost too good to believe for a long time and many assume that, without a new boost, the maturing market and advances made by Android phone vendors like Samsung could do damage to Apple's high margins and benefits.

  • Erik Sherman On Twitter»

    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.


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