Apple Delivers Strong Financial Results

Apple reports its highest-ever quarterly and net income in its first fiscal quarter, up almost 75 percent.

As the Mac faithful continue to pack the ongoing Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple Computer Inc. on Wednesday offered the public some further good news about the companys progress. Boosted by the success of the iPod, the company reported its highest-ever quarterly revenue and net income in its first fiscal quarter.

For the quarter, ended Dec. 25, Apple reported total revenue of $3.49 billion, up from $2.01 billion in the year-ago quarter, a leap of 74 percent. Analysts had forecast revenue of a bit over $3 billion. Apples net profit grew even more: $295 million, compared with $63 million for the year-ago quarter.

The success of the consumer music player was the difference. Announced by CEO Steve Jobs in his Tuesday keynote address at Macworld, Apple sold about 4.6 million iPods during the quarter, a more than 500 percent rise over the same period last year.

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Still, in a conference call with financial analysts Wednesday afternoon, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer stressed the positive growth in computer sales.

He said the company shipped 1,046,000 Macintosh units, a 26 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

The leaders in the CPU field were the iMac and iBook series aimed at consumers and education, up 101 percent and 35 percent compared with the year-ago quarter. Sales of the Power Macintosh G5 rose 7 percent over the previous quarter, while PowerBook G4 sales dropped 29 percent, despite a speed bump in the fall.

/zimages/3/28571.gifDo Apples new products make the grade? Click here for a column.

The executive said sales to the education market grew 11 percent, bringing its highest quarterly total for that market in seven years.

Questions regarding the success of a "halo," or multiplier effect for CPU sales from its success with the audio player, were posed by analysts. Apple has targeted these "switchers" from the Windows platform in the past several years

While avoiding a direct answer on the subject, Oppenheimer pointed to the increasing number of such customers in Apple stores. In the quarter, more than 40 percent of Mac buyers in the stores were "new to the Mac," he said.

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