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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 21, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Apple EPS beats street with iPhone surge, reports “historic” $1.26 vs $1.11 estimates

Downturn schmownturn, people are buying jillions of iPhones, giving Apple one of its best quarters ever. It gets cloudy going forward, though.

Since the 3G model went on sale Sept. 27, Apple sold 6.9 million units more than the 6.1 million first-generation phones sold in the prior five quarters, the company said in its just-issued earnings release.

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2008. The Company posted revenue of $79 billion and net quarterly profit of $.14 billion, or $.26 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $.22 billion and net quarterly profit of $04 million, or $.01 per diluted share, in the year-go quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 33.6 percent in the year-go quarter. International sales accounted for 41 percent of the quarter’s revenue….

“Apple just reported one of the best quarters in its history, with a spectacular performance by the iPhone – we sold more phones than RIM,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We don’t yet know how this economic downturn will affect Apple. But we’re armed with the strongest product line in our history, the most talented employees and the best customers in our industry. And $25 billion of cash safely in the bank with zero debt.”

The outlook was vague: Apple’s CFO said “visibility is low and forecasting is challenging, and as a result we are going to be prudent in predicting the December quarter. We are providing a wide range for our guidance, targeting revenue of $9.0 to $10.0 billion and earnings per diluted share between $1.06 and $1.35.”

Analysts had forecast $1.65 per share.

Slowing sales are apparent in Apple’s other main products. Compared to the previous quarter, iPod sales were flat and Mac sales appear to be flattening, although they’ll probably get a bump from newly released laptops.

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