Apple’s success leaves me speechless

APPLE RECENTLY announced its most recent quarterly financial report, covering the first quarter of the 2012 fiscal year, which ended December 31. By any account, the numbers are amazing, huge, fantastic, and unbelievable.

By (MAC TALK with Magnus Nystedt)

Published: Sat 4 Feb 2012, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:52 AM

You take your pick of how to describe Apple’s results. No matter what you pick, I am sure it still won’t adequately describe the company’s performance.

During the 14-week quarter, Apple managed to reach revenues of $44.63 billion and a profit of $13.1 billion. To put that into perspective, the $13.1 billion profit was equal to Apple’s revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010. That’s how much the company has grown. In the first quarter of 2007, just about the same time Apple showed off the iPhone for the first time, the company reported revenues of $7 billion and a profit of $1 billion.

Comparing Apple’s numbers to some other tech companies is also interesting. Apple’s profits for the quarter beat Google’s revenue for the same period, which was $10.6 billion. In October 2010, Apple passed Microsoft when it comes to revenue. Back then, Apple showed $20.34 billion in revenue. To be fair, Microsoft also showed record revenue in the most recent quarter: $20.9 billion. Compared to struggling Yahoo, Apple generated more revenue with the iTunes Store alone than Yahoo did.

But compared to some non-tech companies, Apple’s revenues are not that big. Walmart is the largest company in the world if we just look at revenue and it posted $105.9 billion in revenue in the last quarter, more than double that of Apple. But that big revenue only generated $3.3 billion of revenue, less than a quarter of what Cupertino managed. That’s impressive.

It’s the iPhone that blazes the way for Apple’s success with 37 million smartphones sold in quarter one. That puts Apple back on the throne as the biggest seller of smartphones in the world, continuing its ongoing battle with Samsung. In the same quarter a year ago, Apple sold only 16 million iPhones.

But it’s not just iPhone that is doing well. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the quarter, and 5.2 million Macs. This is especially impressive in terms of the Mac, which saw a 26 per cent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Combined this means that Apple is the biggest PC manufacturer in the world. In fact, looking at Gartner’s estimated PC sales, Apple sells more iPads than HP sells PCs. That’s amazing.

One thing I find especially interesting about Apple’s financial success is that it now sits on around $100 billion in short term assets, or cash if you like. Since it’s not Apple’s style to make big acquisitions, it’ll be interesting to see what small companies that Apple will scoop up. Chances are that Apple will also spend considerable cash on making further investments in the supply chain, ensuring it has access to the hardware component it needs.

With such amazing financial results, you would perhaps think the only way is down. And in a way you would be right as no one expects the next quarter to be as good as this one. Since the first quarter of Apple’s financial year covers the holiday period, the second quarter pretty much always shows numbers less than the first one.

Magnus Nystedt, @mnystedt

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