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Apple sees flat second quarter sales

But back in the black

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Apple last night announced it made a profit of $14 million ($0.04 a share) on sales of $1.475 billion during its second quarter, ended 29 May of its current fiscal year.

Those figures mark declines of 65 per cent and one per cent, respectively, over the same period last year. Sequentially, they mark a return to profitability - Apple lost $8 million during Q1 - and a fractional increase in revenue.

Apple said it shipped 711,000 Macs in the quarter, down sequentially and year-on-year, by four per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively. Since the dip in shipments doesn't follow the small rise in revenue, Apple's sales seem to be shifting to higher value items, and indeed, the company said 40 per cent of Macs shipped - 284,400 units - were notebooks. Not many of them will have been its top-ticket 17in PowerBook G4, which didn't start shipping until the very end of the quarter.

Gross margins were 28.3 per cent, up from 27.4 per cent in the year-ago quarter. But the quarter is Apple's worst for unit shipments in the last nine quarters.

Looking ahead, CFO Fred Anderson said he expects Q3 revenue to be little different from Q2's - not a difficult prediction given it has hardly changed for the last nine quarters. ®

Bootnote

Dell is once again selling iPods, having signed Apple's reseller contract after all. Apple recently changed the terms and conditions of its contracts, prompting many resellers - Dell included - to refuse to re-sign and cease offering the Windows version of the iPod. Other resellers who refused to re-sign also offer Macs.

Apple won't say who has signed and who hasn't, or indicate how it persuaded those unhappy with the new Ts&Cs to swallow their pride and do so. When the issue first emerged Apple said those resellers who hadn't signed amounted to less than 1.5 per cent of the company's 2002 worldwide revenue. Today, that figure is down to 0.3 per cent, it said.

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