It took several years, but Apple (AAPL -0.78%) and the world's largest wireless carrier finally made it work. China Mobile (CHL) has started selling the iPhone, exposing the platform to its 763.3 million wireless customers.
We have to be realistic. Most of China Mobile's customers can't afford the iPhone. Most of them can't even afford the plethora of cheaper Android handsets. Just 181.1 million of China Mobile's 763.3 million accounts are for 3G smartphone owners. However, this is a market that's expanding quickly in China. The carrier had just 87.9 million 3G customers when the year began, so China Mobile's smartphone base has more than doubled in 2013.
Clearly there is some serious potential to increase Apple's reach in a very important market. It didn't make sense that the iPhone wasn't available officially through China's leading carrier. Customers could've turned to one of China Mobile's smaller rivals for iPhones, but this move will still be incremental at a time when iOS is trying to wrestle back market share from Android.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- Tesla Motors (TSLA -2.39%) revved higher after announcing that 6,900 cars were sold and delivered during the fourth quarter. Back in November, Tesla was forecasting that fewer than 6,000 Model S sedans would be made.
- Google (GOOGL -1.75%) is heating up its M&A activity, spending $3.2 billion to snap up smart-thermostat leader Nest Labs. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a fast-growing home climate controller that can be set via mobile app as it learns and adjusts to a home's thermostat usage. The smart home is apparently the next battlefront for the titans of tech.
- SodaStream (SODA) slipped after warning that it will barely break even for the holiday quarter. Revenue is still growing at a healthy clip -- 26% over the quarter -- but the squeezed margins are problematic for the company hoping to reinvent the way we approach sodas.