In a question and answer session
following today’s financial report Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson said that the company expected a slight profit for the March quarter and gradual improvement the rest of the year.
“We’ve said that we believe we could be profitable at revenue levels of US$1.4 billion or so,” he said. “Last quarter we saw $1.6 billion. We still have tough economic and industry environments, but we feel good about the bookings for the new products and our product ramps are proceeding according to schedule.”
The March quarter should be the weakest of the remaining quarters because Apple is ramping new products this quarter and may well face the situation of demand exceeding supply, especially when it comes to the two high-end G4 towers. However, there should be plenty of machines available in the June quarter and sales will pick up accordingly, Anderson said.
“We expect progressive increases in revenue over the next three quarters,” he added.
Anderson said that Apple was proud that it’s cash value actually increased despite the announced loss during the fiscal first quarter. And he said that the company’s stock was “low right now along with everybody else’s.”
Though sales didn’t spike as much as they have in recent holiday periods, customer demand did increase in December. However, education sales were pretty much the same as the previous year, something that turned out to be a pleasant surprise given Apple’s disappointing year in that market.
“We’re focusing on stabilizing the situation,” Anderson said. “We think we could be seeing sequential improvement in education sales.”
The CFO said he didn’t think the fact that Mac OS X, due March 24, wouldn’t be preinstalled on systems until July would harm hardware sales. The price of OS X ($129) is “very competitive” with other operating systems, he said. And Apple wants to wait until the number of OS X applications reaches “critical mass” this summer before pre-installing the next generation operating system on new machines, Anderson said.
During the question and answer session, the CFO said that: Around 30 percent of those who have bought an iMac DV have made an iMovie. He wouldn’t comment on when the “SuperDrive” technology might come to the consumer product line. Apple is taking customary business preparations in the event of continued “brownouts” of power in California. Component pricing is down on items such as DRAM and LCDs and Apple’s pricing committee will investigate how this will affect is pricing strategy. With Mac OS X coming and “great new products” being released, Apple should continue to see high upgrade cycles.