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iPhone for Spain; PA Semi; Mac share; mobile phone sales fall

Apple has reportedly reached an agreement to bring the iPhone to Spain through Telefonica Movistar. Meanwhile, it's also reported that Apple will support PA Semi's existing chips for the military; the Mac boasts a huge retail share of computers price over a grand; and mobile handset sales fell in the US last quarter.

iPhone for Spain

Speaking at the Professional Communications Congress at the University of Zaragoza this month, Telefonica Movistar's Francisco José Santos Esteras said his firm has reached an agreement with Apple to offer the iPhone in Spain later this year.

Movistar, which serves over 22 million customers in Spain and parts of Latin America, will have a temporary exclusive on sales of the next-generation Apple handset in country lasting between three and six months, Esteras said.

On PA Semi

Apple will reportedly maintain support for PA Semi's line of PowerPC-based processors following pressure from the chipmaker's government customers.

"PA Semi's staff has started notifying a limited set of customers that the company's existing dual-core processor will enjoy long-term support," the Register is reporting. "Apple will employ a number of old PA Semi staffers just for this task, which is good news for folks making missiles, mine-sweeping gear and storage boxes."

Prior to its $278 million acquisition by Apple last month, PA Semi's primary business was in the supply of microchips for customers such as the US Department of Defense. In particular, its PWRficient processor was said to have been employed at various levels across every branch of the US armed forces.

Given that Apple's motivation behind the purchase was to obtain the chipmaker's general expertise rather than its portfolio, it was speculated that the DoD would eventually step in to assure that the deal would not disrupt the flow of parts for its defense systems.

Apple's 66 percent premium retail share

Apple's overall share of the US PC retail market during the first three months of 2008 was about 14 percent, according to recent NPD data cited by Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox. However, when filtering that data based on computers costing more than $1,000, Apple's share skyrockets to 66 percent.

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"iMacs are growing and the Windows desktop ain't. No matter how you look at it, Apple is outperforming Windows," a representative for NPD told the analyst.

Mobile phone sales fall in Q1

Meanwhile, the latest Mobile Phone Track data released by NPD indicates that mobile phone handset sales to consumers in the U.S. reached nearly 31 million units in the first quarter of 2008, which is a 22 percent decline since the same period a year ago.

"For the first time since NPD has tracked handset sales, we've noted a decline in sales during the first quarter after the holidays," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis. Cellular phone service has become a practical necessity in modern life; however, with looming economic concerns on the horizon, many consumers may be holding back on new handset purchases, especially those tied to new pre-paid plans."

Among handset manufacturers, Motorola maintained its lead in the U.S. market during the first quarter; however, its share of unit-sales declined from 35 percent in Q1 2007 to 27 percent this year. In addition, RIM Blackberry improved its ranking, edging out Sanyo as the fifth largest mobile phone manufacturer with a 5 percent share based on the number of handsets sold in the U.S. in Q1 2008.

Apple does not yet rank in the top five US handset vendors.