|Apple Computer is set to announce it's Q1 sales results tomorrow. This is hot on the heels of Steve Jobs announcing that Apple saw year-over-year sales increases during the quarter from US$1.6 Billion last year to over US$1.8 Billion this year and pre-announcing that the quarter had in fact been profitable. Apple's fiscal year runs from October 1st to September 30 usually making Q1 Apple's best quarter.
This time last year saw Mr. Jobs announcing Apple's first profitable quarter since Gil Amelio's administration used some (entirely legal) accounting methods to make Q1 in 1997 look profitable. The company followed with 3 more consecutive profitable quarters leading to a profit of over US$300 Million for fiscal 1998.
During each of those quarters, Apple saw year-over-year sales declines (11 quarters in a row) and tomorrow's announcement will mark the first time Apple has profited and seen sales increases at the same time in almost three years. Up until now, Mr. Jobs's executive team had earned profits by cutting costs through such things as achieving the highest inventory control in the industry (6 days of on-hand parts which beats Dell's 2nd place standing of having 8 days of parts on hand), tighter return policies for retailers, layoffs, and generally running a remarkably tight ship.
This quarter we get to see the results of the iMac add its magic to the mix. The iMac sold over 800,000 units in its first 139 days, most of them coming entirely in Q1.
First Call is pegging Apple's results at 69 cents a share (approximately US$87 Million).
The Mac Observer Spin: The Mac Observer is calling a much higher profit. We think Apple will pull off another US$100 Million-plus quarter (probably over US$120 Million). We will all find out tomorrow.