Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2009 fourth quarter ended September 26, 2009. The Company posted revenue of $9.87 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.67 billion, or $1.82 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $7.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.6 percent, up from 34.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 46 percent of the quarter’s revenue. Apple sold 3.05 million Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing a 17 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter, but with Microsoft’s much anticipated release of Windows 7 slated for later this week, will Apple be able to continue on its growth curve or will they suffer a setback as a result of consumers migrating over to or back to the Microsoft platform as a result of Windows 7 and the timely death of Vista? Personally I think Apple will continue to grow and the release of Windows 7 will only help Apple, not hurt them in any way.
I have been a Windows user for about the last 14 years. Before that I had only Apple computers and started using Windows based machines only after I became a practicing attorney. The firm I joined used Windows machines, and if I wanted to be compatible at all I had to transfer over to Windows myself. Since then I have had only Windows based machines, and increasingly Microsoft has become hostile towards its users not caring whether they release a product that works at all, let alone one that works well. It is no great newsflash that Vista is terrible, but what is worthy of comment is that in order for Vista users to rid themselves of the virus that is Vista it is necessary to upgrade to Windows 7 and pay the Redmond Giant a fee for the privilege of getting rid of a horribly flawed operating system and into Windows 7. I know that Windows 7 has received rave reviews, but I have absolutely no desire to find out for myself. I am going to be switching to Apple within a matter of weeks. In fact, had Micro Center had the Mac computer I wanted in stock I would have made the switch a few days ago, but soon enough I will rid myself of the vista virus! I am not about to pay what I view as an extortion payment to Microsoft for an unproven, untested operating system despite the review of Windows 7.
When exactly did we stop expecting computers, software and gadgets to work upon buying them? It seems almost fanciful to imagine a new release of a product that doesn’t come with an assortment of glitches, and it is well beyond the capability of Microsoft to launch an operating system that is user friendly, usable and not full of security holes. And now they have the audacity to give up on Vista because it is so bad and charge users for the privilege of getting something that we should have been provided in the first place; namely a working operating system.
Any more it seems that the Microsoft trademark stands for inferior quality, lack of compatibility, inevitable security flaws and lots of wasted time. I can only begin to imagine the lost productivity and drag on the US economy caused by having to deal with Vista. To quote Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules from the movie Pulp Fiction: “sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know cause I wouldn’t eat…” it. That is how I feel about Windows 7. It could be the world’s greatest operating system and make the Apple operating system look unusable garbage, but I will never know because I am through with Microsoft operating systems. I have wasted far to much time over the years, and Vista was a mistake of epic proportions. Unfortunately of Microsoft, Vista probably wasn’t even the worst mistake Microsoft made in terms of operating systems, but it will be the last mistake I am willing to subject myself to.
In any event, in addition to selling over 3 million Macintosh® computers during the quarter, Apple also sold 10.2 million iPods, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter, representing seven percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Despite the drop in iPod sales, Apple sold more Macs and iPhones together than in any previous quarter, and according to Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, Apple has “a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.” Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, said that for the first quarter of 2010 he expect “revenue in the range of about $11.3 billion to $11.6 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $1.70 to $1.78.” So all seems good for Apple.
I don’t know how many people share my frustration with Vista, but I have not spoken to anyone who thinks Vista was anything other than a failure. I hear a lot of optimism regarding Windows 7, but isn’t that always the case when Microsoft launches something new? I do believe this time is different, and there is really some reason to be optimistic regarding Windows 7, after all Microsoft couldn’t lay two enormous eggs in a row, could they? Of course they could, and whether Windows 7 is good, bad or just plain ugly there are likely going to be a lot of people skeptical even if they do have enough blind faith to lay down the funds to upgrade out of Vista.
But what really will happen when Microsoft launches Windows 7? According to Brian Marshall of Broadpoint AmTech, who is quoted in a Computer World article, there has been no negative impact for Apple as a result of the last four Windows launches. In fact, new Windows launches “almost act like a delayed accelerant on Mac sales.” Time will tell whether that is the case relative to Windows 7, but I suspect it will be. Unfortunately, the last quarter of 2009 will likely be a good one for Microsoft. They will not only have revenues relating to a new operating system, but the legions of those who unfortunately bought a Vista infected machine will likely upgrade, further rewarding Microsoft for unleashing a not yet ready for prime time operating system.