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Mac sales in education, business markets lag for Apple

While the consumer market continues to shine for Apple, bringing the company to another record quarter, sales in the education and professional markets have suffered for the Mac maker during the ongoing economic recession.

Apple COO Tim Cook revealed during Tuesday's earnings report conference call that Mac sales in both the U.S. education and business markets have slowed due to budget constraints in both sectors.

In overall educational sales, Apple was down 6 percent. Cook said grades kindergarten through 12 fared worse, while higher education sales in colleges were about even with the same period a year prior.

Cook said things could turn around for Mac purchases in the educational sector when federal economic stimulus funds make their way down to individual schools. However, the executive said he is not confident that will happen in the coming September quarter.

"The U.S. K-12 institutional business is weak," Cook said. "As you might expect, and it’s getting hit by budget shortfalls, and last quarter we saw very negligible amount, if any, of the stimulus funds flow all the way to the state and district levels to get spent. So that may or may not occur this quarter."

Meanwhile, commercial and small business accounts are delaying purchases on new Macs, in an attempt to pinch pennies wherever they can. No specific data on business accounts was provided.

However, Cook said iPhone sales in the corporate, government and educational sectors are showing positive signs. Sales have been excellent with small businesses and large organizations that allow people to purchase phones for individual use.

The COO added almost 20 percent of Fortune 100 companies have purchased 10,000 iPhones or more, and over 300 higher education institutions have approved the device. Multiple corporations and government agencies have purchased more than 25,000 units.

Some schools, such as the University of Florida's PharmD program, have taken to requiring the iPhone or iPod touch for class.

"We think that we are just at the tip of the iceberg," Cook said, "in terms of what the iPhone can do with the business customer."