Analyst Steven Milunovich Foresees Apple Market Share Gains, Reiterates 'Buy' Rating

Merrill Lynch analyst and first vice-president Steven Milunovich on Monday issued a research note that reiterated his firmis "Buy" rating on Appleis stock and noted that last Fridayis release of Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" "should help increase Appleis PC share." While Mr. Milunovich acknowledged that previous upgrades to the operating system failed to have much impact in that area, he pointed to Tigeris feature set and the iPodis halo effect as indications that "Appleis PC outlook is rosier this time."

Mr. Milunovich used the release of Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" in the fall of 2003, which brought in US$60 million in revenue for Apple during that quarter, as a basis for comparison and said that he expects Tiger to net $84-$100 million in sales this quarter, given the increased size of the Mac install base. Noting that lead times for iMac and eMac orders on Appleis Web site have increased recently, Mr. Milunovich also expects Apple to capitalize on Tigeris release with more new hardware announcements. He sees Appleis U.S. market share in 2005 to top four percent.

Mr. Milunovich sees Apple earning $1.30 per share during its 2005 fiscal year and $1.55 per share the following fiscal year. He expects that number to jump to $1.80 per share in 2007 and $2.15 per share in 2008. With that in mind, his price objective for Apple shares is $51, with a high risk of volatility. Apple closed Mondayis trading session at $36.43, up just over one percent.