Apple suffers slight net loss but revenue rises

Apple Computer has reported a net loss of $8m for its first quarter of 2003, compared with a net profit of $38m for the same...

Apple Computer has reported a net loss of $8m for its first quarter of 2003, compared with a net profit of $38m for the same period last year.

However, revenue for the period was $1.47bn, up 7% from the same period last year. Gross margins were 27.6%, down from 30.7%.

The results included a $17m after-tax restructuring charge and a $2m after-tax accounting transition adjustment. Excluding those nonrecurring items, Apple said it would have reported a net profit for the quarter of $11m.

Apple said it shipped 743,000 Macintosh computers during the quarter, which ended on 28 December.

Sales of Apple's high-end Power Mac G4 line fell 25% from last year's first quarter. Chief financial officer Fred Anderson blamed the weak economy, but he also pointed blame at Quark, which has not yet released an OS X-native version of its QuarkXPress desktop publishing software.

QuarkXPress is a key tool for the design professionals who comprise a major chunk of the customers for Apple's most powerful desktops. Anderson believed many are waiting for an OS X version before upgrading.

Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs said: "We have a very strong new product pipeline for 2003, which we kicked off by introducing the two most advanced notebook computers in the industry last week at Macworld.

"We're going to keep investing through this downturn and continue to move our products and distribution channels ever further ahead of our competitors, so that when the economy rebounds we will be positioned for growth."

Anderson claimed half of the customers buying computers in Apple stores this quarter did not own a Macintosh before, and slightly more than half of the company's 216,000 iPod digital-music player sales this quarter were of Windows units.

Apple expected revenue to be flat in the next quarter, although it projected it would report a slight profit.

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