The Expected Profit, But... (7/16/02)
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Welp, the numbers are in-- and surprise of surprises, Apple didn't totally leave a big, smoking crater where its solvency once was! According to the official press release, the company scored a quarterly profit of $32 million, directly in line with the analysts' expectations. Of course, those are the revised expectations that had been pummelled southward by that scary earnings warning last month, but hey, who's counting? Apple hit its (new) numbers, and that's a reason to celebrate. Go have a Popsicle or something.

Unfortunately, it's not all sunshine and lollipops. Apple had raked in twice that much profit a year ago, revenues are down 3%, unit shipments are down 2%, and gross margins just got a little less gross-- 27.4%, down from 29.4% last year. And if you tune in to the QuickTime rebroadcast of the analyst conference call, you'll hear some other disturbing numbers: units and revenue are down something like 25% in Europe and Japan; education sales are down 17%; retail is still losing money ($6 million this quarter); and the company was "surprised and disappointed" by lousy sales of iMacs, PowerBooks, Xserves-- heck, pretty much everything but the iBook. In fact, just about the only good news is that Apple still has $4.3 billion in cash and plans to toss some of that green around by buying some more strategically useful companies. Oh, and there's also the fact that Apple still managed to crank out cool products and sell enough of them to make a profit. Sometimes it's easy to forget that in this market, that's a pretty impressive feat in and of itself.

Unfortunately, Wall Street isn't particularly concerned with looking for the silver lining right now, and Apple's stock price is down about a buck and a half in after-hours trading-- meaning that, for the first time in a long time, the AtAT staff is actually losing money on our AAPL holdings. Consternation! Uproar! We're not exactly jumping out the window just yet (we're on the ground floor, anyway), but for the sake of the college fund of a certain little Goddess-In-Training we know, here's hoping that whatever Uncle Steve has jammed up the sleeves of his turtleneck for tomorrow's keynote, it's spectacular enough to give AAPL a much-needed boost.

Oh, but speaking of unbounded optimism and taking the glass-half-full approach, we've got at least one more bit of good news to come out of all of this: faithful viewer Doug Barth is the Big Winner of this quarter's Beat The Analysts contest. For being the first to guess Apple's $32 million profit on the nose, Doug's going to get his choice of receiving either a free AtAT t-shirt or a dusty piece of shrink-wrapped software from our infamous Baffling Vault of Antiquity™. So congratulations to Doug, and remember, everybody: no matter how poorly Apple does in any given quarter, the bright side is that somewhere out there, some happy AtAT viewer will either receive a new game for his or her IIsi, or he or she will get to put off doing laundry for another day. See? It's all good.


 
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The above scene was taken from the 7/16/02 episode:

July 16, 2002: Apple hits the analysts' estimates-- just barely-- amid a slew of slightly worrying declines in revenue, gross margins, unit shipments... you name it. Meanwhile, Microsoft looks to spoil the Macworld Expo fun by pre-announcing products months in advance and making noises about abandoning the Mac platform, and rumors continue to swirl about the imminent introduction of an Apple-branded personal video device tomorrow, but we wouldn't get our hopes up too high if we were you...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3736: Microsoft: Party Poopers (7/16/02)   This is it, people: Keynote Eve. This is the night when all good little Mac enthusiasts drift off to sleep with visions of 20 GB iPods dancing in their heads, as they pray that Santa Steve won't pass them by just because they were once careless enough to ponder the plausibility of an iMac with a 17-inch screen without first taking the precaution of donning a tinfoil hat to block Steve's thought-reading wavelengths...

  • 3737: iTiVo and Wishful Thinking (7/16/02)   So what does Apple have waiting in the wings for tomorrow's shindig? Well, there's been a lot of reasonably believable speculation flying around out there, with stuff about 17-inch iMacs, 20 GB iPods, iTools turning into ".Mac," a solid Jaguar release date, and more...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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