365 Days of Black (10/14/98)

So by now you've almost certainly heard the good news: Apple not only posted its fourth consecutive quarterly profit and their first annual profit since 1995, but they once again blew away analysts' expectations. Steve Jobs announced that Apple's Q4 profits came in at $106 million, about $30 million more than the First Call analyst consensus. And the really good news is that this quarter's profit comes not from cutting deadwood projects and products with no return, but from real, honest-to-goodness sales; the Q4 revenues rose to $1.6 billion, up from $1.4 billion the previous quarter and even with the same quarter from last year. On top of that, thanks in part to the iMac, Apple's unit shipments jumped 28% year over year, which bodes well for the expansion of the installed base. For a complete rundown of the major points revealed in the big Apple event, we recommend MacCentral's summary.

As pleased as we are that Apple continues to improve its financial standing, we're a little amused by articles like this ZDII one which proclaims Apple's street-beating results to be a "shocker." After all, we wouldn't expect too many people to be shocked when the same thing happens four times in a row, but hey, whatever. We're just happy that Apple made about $1.3 billion more in fiscal '98 than in fiscal '97, and that we can start looking forward to growth again. Even Apple's harshest critics seem to be admitting that the death watch is over, but now it's up to Apple to convince the whole world that the Mac platform is still relevant. There are plenty of challenges ahead.

As for the Beat the Analysts contest, six AtAT viewers correctly guessed the $106 million profit on the nose. Congratulations to Rich Lapka, Art Collins, Paul Spitsen, Matthew Johnson, Chad Krause, and Rafi Goldberg for hitting the nail on the head; since there was a six-way tie, a random drawing has determined Rich Lapka to be the "official" winner of a prize chosen from the Baffling Vault of Antiquity™. For details on the guesses, head over to the contest page. Thanks to all who entered, and start working now on those estimates for next quarter!

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The above scene was taken from the 10/14/98 episode:

October 14, 1998: That black ink keeps flowing-- and flowing stronger than Wall Street expected. Meanwhile, it turns out that the iMac is snaring even more first-time computer buyers than originally thought, and Best Buy returns to the Mac fold next month, at least as far as the iMac is concerned...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1077: ...But Who's Buying? (10/14/98)   Apple's Q4 profit wasn't the only bit of good news Steve revealed in the big event; finally, we have some more data about the kinds of people who are buying the iMac, Apple's funky blue consumer system that is largely responsible for the healthy quarterly results...

  • 1078: Buying Best (10/14/98)   Of course, all the great iMac press in the world doesn't help a bit if customers who want to buy one can't find one anywhere. We're not talking so much about availability problems; Apple's done a commendable job of keeping the supply flowing...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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