Steve Jobs, Fred Anderson: We Will Return To Profits This Quarter

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During yesterdayis Financial Analyst meeting with Apple executives Steve Jobs, Fred Anderson, Phil Schiller, Avie Tevanian, and Timothy Cook, CEO Steve Jobs and CFO Fred Anderson both said that Apple will be returning to a profitable state this quarter. As both executives stated during their earnings announcement, Apple took all of its medicine during the 1st fiscal quarter (ending December 31st) rather than dragging out their recovery over the next several quarters.

All of the execs in attendance talked about the companyis efforts to reduce their inventory, control their, and ship the companyis new products now. Demand for the companyis new PowerBook G4 (which has begun shipping) and PowerMac G4 lines has been strong, and the company is on track to begin shipping the new high end 667 MHz and 733 MHz PowerMacs at the end of February. Revenue for the quarter is expected to come in at US$1.4 billion, a level at which Fred Anderson reiterated Apple can profit. According to Mr. Anderson:

I think we are in position to return to profitability in the March quarter. We also believe strongly that we can drive substantial improvements going forward. Gross margins definitely have to be rebuilt above 25%. Operating expenses have to be cut to around US$300-US$400 million per quarter.

Mr. Anderson also said that Apple will be working to rebuild sales to US$2 billion per quarter, a level last reached in 1997, during the next 12-18 months.

Apple is trading lower in todayis session. The stock is at 20 7/8, off by 3/4 (-3.47%) on volume of 3,697,300 shares trading hands as of press time.

Apple will be archiving the meeting until February 28th. For those who can not get a stream, we provided live coverage of the four hour event for your reference. For other stories regarding Appleis stock activity, visit our updated Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

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