Fruitful times for Apple, to say the least: On Monday afternoon, the Cupertino, California based computer and electronics company posted record-high sales and an accompanying 47% profit increase for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, while the rest of the world dealt with the lingering effects of the recession. Apple's stock value jumped accordingly on Tuesday, to near all-time high levels. The news surprised and amazed bloggers. Many moved to congratulate Apple, but some also cautioned that the company's future wasn't looking nearly as bright, especially in light of new, eager competitors.
- Taking Optimists By Surprise Several press outlets acknowledge that even the most optimistic Apple investors have been bowled-over by the company's stellar quarterly report. As veteran Apple-reporter Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for CNN Money: "So much for expectations. Apple (AAPL) blew past them all — its own and those of a crowd of increasingly bullish analysts — by reporting its most profitable quarter ever, earning $1.82 a share on revenue of $9.87 billion for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009." In a separate post, he details why so many financial analysts underestimated Apple. Over at the New York Times, Brad Stone begins his piece on the news with a phrase that says it all: "Apple, in its recent history, has overcome nearly every obstacle thrown its way. Now it has surpassed another: the burden of high expectations."
- Proving Naysayers Wrong The Atlantic's own Derek Thompson cordially admits he was mistaken to have ever doubted Apple's potential for continued success. As he puts it, "In the last few months, I've found a few reasons to rag on Apple. Its computers are too expensive for consumers who only need netbooks. The iPhone risks being overtaken by a suite of free products that allow cheap calling and streaming music. So much for all that. I'd say the moral here is: Don't bet against a company whose products you own and love. For FTC purposes, I'll stop right there."
- Oh Apple, You're So Modest At Reuters Blogs, Lance Knobel doesn't buy into Apple's conservative growth projections for the next quarter, as he says CEO Steve Jobs has a long history of "messing with the expectations of both competitors and his legions of Apple fanboys. He plays his games in the financial world well." He recognizes that there are lurking threats in the form of Microsoft's hotly-anticipated Windows 7 operating system and the increasingly competitive mobile-market, but brushes them off as ancillary for two reasons: 1. Apple has a "huge advantage" when it comes to mobile thanks to the popularity of it's applications store, and is set to clobber the Chinese market: "The entry into China should also provide a significant boost for the iPhone business. Cook declined to quantify the China effect, but the arrangement with China Unicom calls for the iPhone to launch at 1,000 points of sale. The world’s largest mobile market isn’t yet the largest market for smart phones."