Apple released it’s fourth quarter results on Wednesday, October 18. Once again Apple dramatically exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. Wall Street was expecting earnings of $4.67 billion, or $.51 cents per share. Apple delivered earnings of $4.84 billion and a quarterly profit of $546 million, equal to $.62 per share. This was a 27% profit increase from the year-ago quarter. Strong sales of Macs (especially laptops), and continued iPod and iTunes Store strength contributed to this success.

As they say on Marketplace, here are the numbers:

  • 58% of company revenue came from Macs (that is, computers, not iPods or iTunes Store sales)
  • 4% rise in desktop sales
  • 61% of Apple computers sold were laptops
  • 56% increase in portable sales from year ago quarter
  • 1,610,000 Macs sold this quarter
  • 5.3 million Macs sold this year
  • 8,729,000 iPods this quarter
  • 39 million iPods sold this year
  • $4.84 billion revenue
  • $546 million quarterly profit
  • 27% increase in profit compared to a year-ago
  • $11 billion increase in annual revenue over past two years
  • $10 billion in cash on hand
  • 32% increase in Mac sales in Europe
  • 4% decrease in Mac shipments in Japan, though iPod sales grew 28 percent in revenue from the year-ago quarter).
  • iPod sales increased 35% in Europe from the year ago quarter (though the purchase price decreased.)
  • 40% of the quarter’s revenue came from international sales
  • Apple expects revenue of $6.0 to $6.2 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2007
  • Gross margin was 29.2%, from 28.1 percent in the year ago quarter.

I wonder when Apple is going to spend or distribute some of that $10 billion in cash. That’s about half of Vermont’s entire gross state product. There are a lot of potential acquisitions out there. However, despite recent high-profile acquisitions (Silicon Color, Shake, eMagic) Apple is not known as an acquisitions-driven company.

For owners of AAPL (like me), Apple could post a dividend or buy back some shares.

Or Apple could give me a $10 billion grant as a sort of friendly gesture. You know, just between friends.

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