TOYMAKER FOR THE WELL HEELED Apple has once again shown that fanbois' wallets are recession-proof by posting another set of bumper financial results.
Apple's strap line for its third quarter 2011 results was "all-time record revenue and earnings", and the figures certainly made impressive reading. During the three months ending 25 June 2011, the firm's tills rang up $28.57bn and even more impressive was a profit of $7.79bn.
To put Apple's 2011 figures into perspective, in the same quarter last year Apple reported revenue of $15.70bn and profit of $3.25bn, so not only has the firm close to doubled its revenue, costs have shrunk resulting in profit growing faster than revenue. The figures show that there is absolutely no chance of the Church of Jobs having to sell the lead off its roof anytime soon.
As to just how Apple hit $28.57bn in sales, the firm revealed it had sold over 20 million Iphones in the quarter and 9.25 million Ipads. The only blot on what is undoubtedly an impressive sales record is a 20 per cent drop in Ipod sales from the same quarter in 2010 to 7.54 million.
Apple's drop in Ipod sales is expected, as the firm has long since moved away from the Ipod, the product that revitalised its fortunes, and onto the Iphone and Ipad. Sales of those devices showed no sign of declining and with a new Iphone expected in the next quarter, it's highly unlikely Apple will suffer too much during the summer months.
Such is the confidence that Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO said that the firm expects revenue of around $25bn during its fourth quarter.
Things at Apple are rosey at the moment but looking ahead the, quite literally, $64bn question, is who will succeed Apple's charismatic CEO Steve Jobs. The Wall Street Journal reports that some board members are already looking into the delicate task of succession planning.
There is no talk of Jobs leaving Apple in the short term but given his image as the leader who drives the company's success, any successor will have to bed in for several quarters in order to reassure investors before Jobs leaves the firm. Not surprisingly, the board is sworn to secrecy, according to the report, and what will be most interesting is whether Apple will decide to promote from within or hire someone from outside.
So while Apple's third quarter results show that the cappuccino company's spell over its fanbois has no sign of diminishing, the task of finding Jobs' successor is gaining in importance. µ