RealTime IT News

Apple to Post Lower than Expected Earnings

Apple Thursday is expected to report that its fourth quarter earnings will be substantially below expectations due to slower than expected sales in the past month.

The firm said it expects to report revenues between $1.85 and $1.90 billion and earnings per diluted share, excluding investment gains, between $.30 and $.33 when actual results are announced on October 18.

The giant had hoped to earn $165 million, but said $110 million was the realistic figure to date.

Apple's Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson said slower-than-expected sales in September, lower education sales, and sales of its Power Mac G4 Cube were the three main factors that contributed to the fiscal shortcomings. Anderson said the letdown has forced Apple to reevaluate its strategy for the next quarter.

The G4 Cube is one of the smallest fully functional computers available, measuring about 8 inches square and 10 inches high in an enclosure of clear plastic. It is touted for its stylish appearance, but reports have surfaced that it may not be too sturdy.

Calling the news a "speedbump," Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said he is positive his firm's future products, including the Mac OS X, will result in a turnaround.

The company is unveiling updated products, including laptops, iMacs and high-end PowerMacs for professional users such as graphic designers.

While Apple executives see this as a good thing, some analysts said it's trickier than it looks: The feeling is that the firm have to balance the inventory of old products with the new.

Hints of a shortfall first appeared last Thursday when shares of Apple fell 7.1 percent, dropping $4.36 to $56.69 in trading of 8.8 million shares.