Thursday, October 19, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sales of iPods, Macs drive up Apple profit

The Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple Computer said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 27 percent, well past analyst expectations, boosted by sizzling sales of its iPod music players and Macintosh computers.

That sent Apple shares up more than $4 in after-hours trading, before they settled back to a gain of $3.13. Apple shares rose 24 cents Wednesday to close at $74.53 before the announcement.

Apple reported that it earned $546 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, or 62 cents per share. That compared with net income of $430 million, 50 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Revenue for the quarter totaled $4.84 billion, a 32 percent jump from $3.68 billion last year.

The average estimate by analysts was for earnings of 51 cents per share on sales of $4.66 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

Apple's iPod-iTunes juggernaut has helped the company reap record profits in recent years, but some of the earnings might be eroded when Apple later restates some quarterly reports due to earlier mishandling of stock-options accounting.

The restatements could lead to a "significant adjustment," Apple said Wednesday.

For the quarter, Apple said it shipped 8.7 million iPods, up 35 percent from the year-ago period. A good back-to-school season also helped Apple ship a record 1.6 million computers, up 30 percent from a year earlier.

Among computers, laptop sales were particularly strong: shipments rose 56 percent to almost 1 million units.

Sales for all computers reached $2.2 billion, up 37 percent from a year ago, while sales of iPods reached $1.56 billion, up 29 percent.

Apple officials said they were optimistic about the current holiday quarter, despite new competition in the marketplace. Many analysts don't expect Microsoft's upcoming Zune player to knock down Apple's dominance in music players, but many are wondering how well the Zune and other players will compete.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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