Blackfriars: Looking Behind the Apple Money Machine

Appleis fourth quarter earnings report revealed that European currency exchange rates, U.S. taxes on foreign earnings as well as software and peripheral sales are fueling the Apple money machine. Its assets are growing at a rate of 92 percent per year, according to Carl Howe of Blackfriars Communications.

A key exchange occurred between Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley and Appleis two executives during the Q&A session, according to Mr. Howe. She asked about foreign earnings in light of the fact that the dollar is weakening. Peter Oppenheimer pointed out that "generally for most U.S. companies, growth in foreign earnings is a benefit to your taxes, your U.S. tax rate."

The implication is that as Appleis iPhone sales in Europe develop with prices at 40 to 60 percent higher than in the U.S. Appleis financial situation will continue to improve.

Mr. Howe also pointed to a seldom discussed component of Appleis earnings, software and peripherals. Those sales are also swelling and currently account for US$2.75B in annual revenue. "Given that total iPhone sales are so far less than a quarter of that total, itis a category that perhaps deserves a bit more notice," Mr. Howe advised.

Finally, Mr. Howe suggested that Appleis balance sheet should be tracked more carefully to reveal the full extent of Appleis success. "At the end of June, Appleis assets were valued at $21.6 billion, with $13.8 billion in cash and short-term investments," Mr. Howe noted. "As of the end of September, those numbers had swelled to $25.3 billion in assets with $15.4 billion in cash. Said another way, Apple is growing its assets at a rate of just under 6% a month. Thatis an annual growth rate of 92% a year. And with a cash machine like that, itis no wonder the stock price continues to go up."