BusinessWeek: Apple's Profits Grew 552% In 2003, Best Among Techs

In a report from BusinessWeek about corporate profits in 2003, the magazine noted that Apple led the pack in profit growth amongst tech companies. Indeed, while the tech industry averaged profit growth of a whopping 210%, Appleis profits for 2003 soared some 552%. The report is part of BusinessWeekis annual Corporate Scoreboard report of corporate profit profits. From BusinessWeek:

The big resurgence in capital spending lifted tech companies sharply, as corporations began investing again in information technology. Earnings for the computer industry soared 210%. Apple Computer Inc. recorded the largest increase for the group, a 552% jump in annual profits to $137 million, thanks to strong sales of its computers and the iPod. IBMis yearly profit increased 43%, to $7.6 billion, on the strength of consulting services and software sales. And hardware sales accelerated sharply in the fourth quarter. IBM Chief Financial Officer John. R. Joyce recently told investors that "2004 is the year when the IT industry will begin its next growth cycle."

Chipmakers are already seeing the cycleis impact in the explosive growth of new digital products, such as next-generation cell phones and game consoles. The semiconductor industry posted a $4.8 billion profit in 2003, vs. a $4.2 billion loss the year earlier, with a lot of help from industry leader Intel Corp. Its profit soared 81%, to $5.6 billion, on a 13% rise in sales.

By comparison, the crowded software industry didnit see such a sharp increase. Although profits at Oracle Corp. rose 22%, to $2.5 billion last year, sales climbed a meager 4% -- one reason the database and enterprise software maker is angling to buy its nearest competitor, PeopleSoft Inc. Even behemoth Microsoft Corp. barely surpassed the industryis 8% total annual sales gain, with an 11% increase, to $34.3 billion. Profits rose just 9%, to $8.9 billion, because sales of PCs, where most of the companyis software is placed, were sluggish until the fourth quarter.

Thereis more information about profits from different sectors in the full article at BusinessWeek.