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Mac and iPod sales boost Apple profits

Latest update : 2008-04-24

Apple reported on Wednesday that profits in the first three months of the year topped $1 billion as sales of Macintosh computers climbed more than 50 percent.

Apple reported on Wednesday that profits in the first three months of the year topped one billion dollars as sales of Macintosh computers climbed more than 50 percent.

Apple's stock price struggled to hold ground, though, after it trimmed its earnings prediction for the current quarter.

The tech giant and maker of hot-selling iPod music players and iPhones said it earned 1.05 billion dollars, or 1.16 dollars per share, on revenues of 7.51 billion dollars for the quarter as compared to 770 million dollars, or 87 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The results trounced analysts' predictions that Apple's profits for the quarter would be 94 cents per share.

"We're delighted to report 43 percent revenue growth and the strongest March quarter revenue and earnings in Apple's history," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.

"With over 17 billion dollars in revenue for the first half of our fiscal year, we have strong momentum to launch some terrific new products in the coming quarters."

Apple shipped 2.29 million Mac computers during the quarter, 51 percent more than it shipped during the same period in 2007. The iconic California company sold 1.703 million iPhones during the quarter.

"It was a solid quarter for Apple," said Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle. "It really shows them to be one of the brightest stars in the technology market right now."

Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said Apple expects revenues of 7.2 billion dollars and profits of a dollar per share in the current quarter.

The profit outlook was weaker than analyst forecasts for earnings of 1.10 dollars a share.

Apple is known for setting earnings expectations at levels it can comfortably beat in order to avoid having its stock punished by a disappointed market.

"Other than the overall economic situation, I'm not seeing any weakness in Apple," Enderle said.

Apple saw "healthy growth" in regions around the world and strong Mac, iPod and iPhone sales were at the heart of the firm's revenues, according to Oppenheimer.

The eight percent rise in iPod revenues was credited to demand for the iPod Touch model, which is essentially an iPhone without the mobile telephone capabilities.

Meanwhile, sales of matchbook-size iPod Shuffles continued a "sequential decrease" despite Apple cutting the price. Low prices for flash memory used in iPods offset the decrease in money brought in by Shuffle sales.

Apple commands more than 70 percent of the MP3 player market and affirmed its prediction it will sell at least 10 million iPhones in the product's first year on the market.

The saturation of the iPod market and a trend toward people using mobile telephones for music and video validate Apple's launch of the iPhone, according to Enderle.

"The typical problem in a sector like this is a company holding on to existing technology and resisting the next wave," Enderle said.

"Apple has been aggressive about catching the next wave and shifting from the iPod to the iPhone."

IPhones have been snapped up in the United States. It remains to be seen whether the innovative mobile devices will be as popular in Europe, where they recently began rolling out.

Apple plans to expand sales of iPhones to more parts of Europe and enter the Asia market later this year, Oppenheimer said.

The firm also plans to open more of specialty Apple Stores internationally, with shops opening in Australia, China and Switzerland in coming months.

"We remain very confident in our business and our strategy and will continue to invest in things that will delight our customers," Oppenheimer said.

Date created : 2008-04-24

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