Apple posts $63M profit

Apple on Wednesday reported its results for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2004, which ended December 27, 2003. The company reported a net profit of US$63 million, or $0.17 per diluted share. The company noted that revenue for the quarter jumped 36 percent year over year, to $2.006 billion -- a four year high.

That compares sharply to an $8 million loss for the same quarter a year ago. Gross margin for the quarter was 26.7 percent, down from 27.6 percent for the same quarter a year ago. International sales accounted for 44 percent of the quarter's revenue, according to Apple.

Apple noted that it shipped 829,000 Macs during the quarter -- a 12 percent increase year over year. Apple shipped 733,000 iPods, an astounding 235 percent increase year over year -- a number first shared with the public by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during last week's Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif.

Jobs said in the statement announcing this quarter's results that Apple had an "outstanding quarter" and is kicking off the year "with strong momentum." He reiterated his Macworld Expo keynote news that almost 40 percent of Apple's installed base has migrated to Mac OS X, and iTunes Music Store holds a 70 percent share of the legal music download market.

News on the financial end is rosy, according to Apple CFO Fred Anderson. Cash increased by $225 million to just under $4.8 billion thanks to strong asset management, he said. Anderson also said that he expects a strong second quarter, anticipating Apple's "third consecutive quarter of year-over-year double-digit growth in both revenue and earnings, with revenue of about $1.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of $.08 to $.10."

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