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Breaking Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 01:40 pm PT (04:40 pm ET)

Apple profits rise 26% on sales of 2.6M Macs, 6.8M iPhones

Apple said Tuesday that fourth-quarter profits rose more than 26 percent to $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share, on sales of $7.9 billion for the three-month period ended September 27, 2008.

Those results compare to revenue of $6.22 billion and net quarterly profit of $904 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 34.7 percent, up from 33.6 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 41 percent of the quarter's revenue.

Apple shipped 2,611,000 Macintosh computers during the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth and 17 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. The company sold 11,052,000 iPods during the quarter, representing eight percent unit growth and three percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone units sold were 6,892,000 compared to 1,119,000 in the year-ago-quarter.

"Apple just reported one of the best quarters in its history, with a spectacular performance by the iPhone — we sold more phones than RIM," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "We don't yet know how this economic downturn will affect Apple. But we're armed with the strongest product line in our history, the most talented employees and the best customers in our industry. And $25 billion of cash safely in the bank with zero debt."

In accordance with the subscription accounting treatment required by GAAP, Apple recognizes revenue and cost of goods sold for iPhone and Apple TV over their economic lives. Adjusting GAAP sales and product costs to eliminate the impact of subscription accounting, the corresponding non-GAAP measures for the quarter are $11.68 billion of "Adjusted Sales" and $2.44 billion of "Adjusted Net Income."

"We're very pleased to have grown revenue 35 percent and to have generated $9.1 billion in cash in fiscal 2008," said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO. "Looking ahead, visibility is low and forecasting is challenging, and as a result we are going to be prudent in predicting the December quarter. We are providing a wide range for our guidance, targeting revenue of $9.0 to $10.0 billion and earnings per diluted share between $1.06 and $1.35."

Apple will conduct its Q4 2008 financial results conference call in about 30 minutes — AppleInsider will provide full coverage.

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