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Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Apple: "international numbers are absolutely killer"

While noting domestic growth in the US that has consistently outpaced the overall industry for the last 17 consecutive quarters, Apple drew specific attention to even more dramatic growth in sales internationally in its June quarter conference call.

Apple's chief operations officer Tim Cook said Apple's "international numbers are absolutely killer," citing particularly strong growth in Asia, Europe and Japan. Cook noted 144% growth in China and near double growth in Hong Kong sales.

Even in Spain, where the economy has been in the doldrums of recession, Cook noted 59% growth in Mac sales. Apple will also be expanding its Spanish iPhone mobile partner from a single exclusive provider to three alternative carriers.

In its last conference call, Apple executives had pointed to a stronger US dollar as one of five factors that could depress profit margins. However, the company said margins remained higher at 39.1% due to lower transition costs than expected and favorable adjustments. Increased foreign sales also resulted in a lower tax rate.