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Wednesday, April 14, 2004, 03:40 pm PT (06:40 pm ET)

Notes of interest from the Apple conference call

Below are a series of notes gathered from this evenings conference call with outgoing Apple CFO, Fred Anderson and his successor, Peter Oppenheimer.

  • Apple saw its strongest March quarter in 4 years.

  • The company is very pleased with the performance of iLife '04 in its first available quarter. Sales of the software amounted to over 400,000 copies, not including those that were bundled with CPUs.

  • Apple retains 12,000 iPod storefronts world-wide and is actively look for more quality channels.

  • Best Buy remains a key distribution channel, and Apple analyzing data from recently expired pilot program to determine how it should proceed.

  • Apple retail stores accounted for $266 million in revenue in Q2 from an average of 75 locations. This figure breaks down to approximately $3.5 million revenue per store for the quarter.

  • On average, Apple stores saw 5.8 thousand visitors per store, per week in the last quarter.

  • Apple plans to open about 10 more stores, raising its total to 88 retail locations before the end of fiscal 2004.

  • Revenue in Europe was up 33% year over year, while revenue in the Americas rose to 29% year over year.

  • Revenue in Japan was down 21% year over year. Apple said that a number of activities are currently underway to improve these results. The company attributed some of the shortcomings in the Japanese market to yet un-ported localized versions of applications for the company's new Power Mac G5s, such as Quark Express.

  • For the last quarter, Apple's gross margin on iPod was approximately 27%. iPod gross margins are expected to decline in the current quarter to 23% and drop to about 20% when iPod production is ramped in favor of HP iPod sales.

  • Power Mac volumes for the quarter were lower than expected at 174,000 units. Apple reduced its total channel inventory by 10%, and Power Macs accounted for the largest component of the reduction. Apple still believes it will attain sales ranging beyond 200,000 Power Macs during some quarters, while other quarters may see slightly lower figures depending on seasonality and product life cycle.

  • Apple confirmed that it was not happy with 90-nanometer processor shipments from IBM, but claimed that IBM is working as 'very hard' to deliver enough chips to meet demand. Apple cited chip shortages as the sole factor in the recent Xserve G5 delays.

  • Apple would not comment on whether certain product schedules had slipped.

  • The company does not expect to achieve a supply and demand balance on iPod minis until sometime in fiscal quarter four, but said it "will do whatever it takes to get in balance."

  • Apple is being charged higher fees for some albums it is marketing at through its online store, and as a result has is charging customers more than $9.99 for those albums.

  • Apple could not have been happier with iBook sales, which exceeded 201,000 for the quarter. These figures did not decline from the December holiday quarter. There has been a 'great customer response to iBook G4' and it is reportedly 'doing very well in both the consumer and education markets.'

  • HP has already shipped over 300,000 CPU units that have been pre-loaded with iTunes for Windows.

  • The company has increased its forecast of operating 80 retail stores by the back to school season to 88 stores by the end of fiscal Q4. At this rate, Apple will have opened 23 new retail stores in fiscal 2004. Apple's real estate partners had better than expected success in securing locations for new stores that will now open over the summer.

  • Apple retail stores are working with 2 to 3 weeks inventory.

  • The iTunes Music Store saw a small profit in the previous quarter.