Apple posts strong quarterly earnings

13:07, July 20, 2011      

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Apple Inc. on Tuesday reported strong third fiscal quarter results that top analysts' expectations, citing strong iPhone and iPad sales.

For its fiscal 2011 third quarter ended on June 25, Apple reported net income of 7.31 billion U.S. dollars or 7.79 dollars per share, compared with 3.25 billion dollars, or 3.51 dollars per share a year ago.

Its revenue reached 28.57 billion dollars, compared with 15.7 billion dollars in the same period a year earlier. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter's revenue.

The average estimate is a profit of 5.84 dollars a share on revenue of 24.9 billion dollars.

The Cupertino, Califronia-based company sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 142 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. It sold 9.25 million iPads in the third quarter, a 183 percent unit increase on a year-over-year basis.

The only drawback is the sales of iPods, which had a 20 percent unit decline to 7.54 million from the year-ago quarter.

"We're thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent," Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"Right now, we're very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this Fall," added Job.

It is the first time since 2008 that Apple's third-quarter earnings does not include the release of a new iPhone, which, slated for launch in September, is reportedly to be thinner and lighter with a faster chip and 8-megapixel camera.

Apple has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past four quarters. It had previously beaten the average earning projection for at least 29 straight quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

For the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said the company expects revenue of 25 billion dollars and earnings per share of about 5.5 dollars. Apple has been known for its conservative projections of earnings.

Apple has been operating without the daily attention of Jobs since the CEO took a medical leave this January. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that some members of Apple's board have discussed CEO succession with executive recruiters and at least one head of a high-profile technology company.

But the people familiar with the matter told the newspaper that it was more of an informal exploration of the company's options and don't appear to have been acting on behalf of the full board.

Meanwhile, Apple has recently been busy with a number of legal battles over patent rights with HTC, Eastman Kodak and Samsung.

Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission made an initial ruling that HTC infringed two of Apple's phone patents in its smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system.

If upheld, the ruling could let Apple force other Android phone makers to pay significant patent fees.

On Tuesday, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt said at a conference in Tokyo that Apple's smartphone lawsuits are inspired by jealousy and a lack of innovation in iPhone, noting Google would support HTC's fight against Apple and was confident of a win.

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