Apple Computer reported revenue of $1.87 billion for its fourth quarter, ended Sept. 30, $180 million less than anticipated. Apple's $170 million in quarterly profit yielded earnings per share of 47 cents, shattering analyst expectations of 31 cents, but the figure included $62 million from the sale of 7.1 million shares of ARM Holdings plc. Excluding that investment gain, the per-share figure was 30 cents.
Still, for the year ended Sept. 30, Apple reported a profit of $786 million, or $2.l8 per diluted share, on revenue of $7.98 billion, compared with a profit of $601 million, or $1.81, on revenue of $6.13 billion.
CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday blamed the disappointing quarter on:
-Sluggish sales of the Power Mac G4 Cube
-A gap between the chip speeds in Apple's Macintosh products and PCs
-An ill-timed strategy decision to eliminate third-party sales agents in the education market
Gartner Group analyst Martin Reynolds says Apple hasn't really done anything wrong. "Apple isn't the only company that's bummed about the state of the market," Reynolds says, citing poor earnings for several PC makers.
Jobs offered little optimism for the upcoming holiday season, predicting continued struggles. The company has lowered revenue expectations for the next quarter to $1.6 billion, and has frozen most hiring. "Apple is going to have two disappointing-but profitable-quarters," Jobs said. "Our plan is to be back on track for January."