The health of Apple chief executive Steve Jobs might be in question, and his successor's identity remains unknown, but the company's financial fortitude appears as sturdy as ever.
Fueled by sales of its Macs, iPhones and iPads, the technology giant far surpassed Wall Street analysts' expectations by reporting Tuesday that it earned $6 billion in the last three months of last year, nearly double from the corresponding quarter in 2009. The company also posted surprisingly high sales of nearly 7.3 million iPads, the company's pioneering tablet device that was a hit during the holiday season.
During an earnings call, the company gave no update on Jobs, who said Monday that he was going on medical leave. He has been battling pancreatic cancer and has had a liver transplant. Apple said Jobs will remain chief executive, while chief operating officer Tim Cook, a veteran from IBM and Compaq, has assumed day-to-day control, according to Washington Post.
Net income in the fiscal first quarter rose to $6 billion, or $6.43 a share, from $3.38 billion, or $3.67, a year earlier, Apple said yesterday in a statement. The Cupertino, California- based company also projected second-quarter profit and sales that may exceed analysts' estimates.
Sales gained 71 percent to a record $26.7 billion as customers packed stores to buy iPhone 4s, iPads and new Macbook Air laptops, all available for the first time during a year-end holiday season. Revenue would have risen more had the company been able to build more iPhones, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said.
The results indicate that Apple will perform well even as Jobs hands day-to-day operations to Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, said Bill Kreher, an analyst at Edward Jones.
"These results will help shift focus away from Steve Jobs's health and to the company's long-term earnings power," said Kreher, who's based in St. Louis. "Investors have become increasingly more comfortable with life after Jobs," Bloomberg reports.