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10/19/2010
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iPad Rivals Are DOA, Jobs Claims

Apple CEO dismisses competitors' efforts to unseat his slate as king of the tablet computing market.

Apple boss Steve Jobs said he doesn't believe smaller tablets from rivals like Google and Samsung will catch on with consumers. "They'll be dead on arrival said Jobs," who spoke Monday on Apple's quarterly earnings call.

Apple said it sold 4.19 million iPads during the quarter. Though weaker than some expected, the number indicates the iPad is still one of the hottest selling tech gadgets on the market. But the iPad, until now, has pretty much had the tablet market to itself. That's changing as a host of tech players introduce slate-style computers of their own.

Most, like the Google Android-powered Samsung Galaxy tab or RIM's new PlayBook, feature the type of 7-inch screen maligned by Jobs. By comparison, the iPad offers a 9.7-inch viewing area. "We've got a tiger by the tail here," Jobs said.

Indeed, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore on Monday released data that shows Apple owns an industry leading, 25% share of the U.S. PC market when iPad sales added to Mac sales. Whitmore's figures show Apple ahead of Dell and HP, each of which holds a share of about 20% as of the end of the third quarter, and Acer, with a 9% share.

Strong iPad sales, in addition to robust performance by the iPhone and iPod, helped Apple beat analysts' expectations for its fourth quarter. The company reported a 70% increase in profits, to $4.3 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. Apple also posted a 66% gain in revenues, to $20.3 billion.

"We are blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings—both all-time records for Apple," said Jobs, in a statement. Jobs said iPhone unit sales increased 91% during the quarter, to 14.1. "We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year," said Apple's famously coy CEO.

Apple shares were off 3.77%, to $306, in pre-market trading Tuesday as investors raised concerns about the company's conservative guidance going forward. Apple said it expects to post earnings per share of about $4.80 in its first fiscal quarter, which includes the key holiday shopping season, on sales of about $23 billion.

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