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eBay chokes on iPhones

Speculators return them to stores

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Some were boasting from their camps outside Apple stores before the iPhone rush began, of how much money they would make on eBay auctions; and apparently, at least one optimist let it be known that $2,000 would be needed to buy a $600 iPhone.

According to Katie Hafner, stringer for the New York Times, "Thousands of listings showed up on eBay and Craigslist, with prices of $1,000 for the 8-gigabyte phone, a $400 markup."

Hafner found some asking even more; "As it became clear that supply was meeting demand, they found themselves stuck. Few of the phones have sold for more than $700, which after sales tax, is not a remarkable profit margin."

Word in the channel suggests that the "million sold" announcement is close. There are a million handsets on their way to stores, or maybe even bought, said one insider this weekend, "but there are still problems getting them home, and registering them on the network."

Stocks have been reaching the stores, reported Phil Lattimore, and shortages even in Texas and California should ease this week.

Up till the 5th, Engadget was still reporting "sold out" signs at all stores except Tigard, Oregon or Pittsburgh PA, but the next day, news emerged of substantial new shipments.

The real figures for sales so far vary widely. Financial analysts (normally with good access to channel figures) were still saying "500,000 to 700,000 sold" Thursday, but by Friday, there were reports "leaked from ATT Mobility" saying that the network "has fulfilled over 1 million iPhone activations since the device was launched in the US on June 29th. "This news comes from a full-time staffer in ATT Mobilty’s Commerce Group who chose to remain anonymous," said one of the new iPhone web sites, "WaitingForiPhone"

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