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Apple results solid, but Jobs warns of uncertain future

Paul Kunert

Despite defying gloomy market conditions to post healthy fiscal fourth quarter results Apple cut forecasts for the remainder of the year, joining a growing band of industry giants to sound a cautionary note on the short term outlook for sales.

For the quarter ended 27 September 2008, turnover climbed 21% to $7.89bn as profits swelled 25.6% to $1.136bn. Compared to 2007, Apple revenues rose from $24bn to $32.4bn and profits increased from $3.4bn to $4.8bn.

CFO Peter Oppenheimer said it was difficult to predict the outcome for the last three months of the calendar year.

"Looking ahead, visibility is low and forecasting is challenging, and as a result we are going to be prudent in predicting the December quarter," he said, adding the company was targeting revenues of $9bn to $10bn.

Analysts had expected Apple to hit revenues of $10.6bn in the final quarter of the year, as the US giant posted revenues of $9.6bn in the same period of 2008.

Mirroring the uncertainty, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said "we don't yet know how this economic downturn will affect Apple" but he added it had $25bn cash in the bank and had no debts.

But he hailed the fourth fiscal quarter financials as "one of the best" in its history, "with a spectacular performance by the iPhone - we sold more phones than RIM."

During the three month period the company sold 6.8 million iPhones compared to 1.1 million a year earlier, while it shipped 2.6 million Macs and a little over 11 million iPods during the period.

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