BW: Record-breaking quarterly Mac sales put Apple into the running for a top computer-maker spot

“Sure, Apple Computer sold a lot of iPods in the September quarter. But unlike in past periods, when surging sales of the iconic digital-music player grabbed headlines, this time around, the Mac was the belle of the earnings ball,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinesWeek. “In fact, Apple sold more of its Macintosh computers—1.61 million—than in any other quarter. Mac sales were clearly the high point of the quarter and the year, accounting for $2.2 billion, or 45%, of revenue.”

“‘They delivered in spades,’ Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says of Apple’s Mac sales. ‘It’s a sign that Apple has turned the corner from being a niche player to being a player that is starting to make a run at bigger players.’ Indeed, Apple came within spitting distance of overtaking Gateway as the third-biggest U.S. computer maker, according to Gartner figures released on Oct. 18, the same day as Apple’s results. Last quarter, Apple sold a mere 38,000 fewer units than Gateway, which trails Hewlett-Packard and Dell,” Hesseldahl reports.

“Not that the iPod played the shrinking violet by any means. Apple sold 8.7 million units, more than 2 million more than a year earlier. That was welcome news, considering some recent analyst reports pointing to the prospect of worse-than-expected iPod sales. Indeed, the iPod showed its continued importance to Apple’s bottom line, making up $1.5 billion, or nearly one-third, of sales,” Hesseldahl reports.

“The retail division also pulled its share of the weight, turning in sales of $936 million and clocking more than 20 million visitors to its 165 stores around the world. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said internal surveys found that 50% of those who bought Macs in the retail stores described themselves as ‘new to the Mac,'” Hesseldahl reports. “Also aiding Apple’s retail efforts is a trial with Best Buy, which by the end of the quarter was selling Macs in 50 stores, up from 7 at the beginning of the period. ‘If it succeeds, and expands across all of Best Buy, it could increase Apple’s retail footprint by 10%,’ says Munster. ‘That will dramatically boost the U.S. go-to-market strategy with the Mac. I bet a year from now they’re in half of Best Buy’s stores.'”

Hesseldahl reports, “The quarter also capped a fiscal year when Apple sold 5.3 million Macs and 39 million iPods, recorded $19.3 billion in sales, and stacked up a $1.9 billion profit.”

Full article here.

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12 Comments

  1. RC>

    Apple may have 6.1% in their home market, but they need to do more in Japan, UK, France and Germany just for starters. If Apple could start to make serious progress in all of those markets, the argument that Apple is not a “global player” could be quashed once and for all.

    It’s not like they could really be that far off: 2.3 to 2.5 million units gets you a Global Top 5 slot according to yesterday’s IDC/Gartner reports, which would be possible if Apple could keep the pressure up (say 25%) for three years they’d be looking at over 3 million units for this quarter in 2009 which would put Toshiba in their sights.

  2. I have to say, it’s really nice to see Macs getting talked up. iPods are great and I’m glad they are helping Apple be successful, but the Mac is their Raison D’Etre.

    (MDN—thanks for the comments cleanup)

  3. Fanatic Realist: “Apple may have 6.1% in their home market, but they need to do more in Japan, UK, France and Germany just for starters.”

    Agreed.

    Then address Australia and New Zealand. I doubt market share here is above 2%.

    Good to see progress in the US though.

  4. Advertising here or abroad is pointless if you have nothing to offer!

    Apple Computer has been in a state of flux since 1997. Steve Jobs’ first order of business has been to reclaim the hearts and minds of the Apple faithful. But first he had to restore integrity to a company that lost it’s way.

    He made tough, but necessary decisions to:

    1) Stop licensing the Macintosh OS
    2) Transition away from a dead-end OS whose prospects offered no real future
    3) Transition away from a processor whose developer never took desktop computing seriously

    As an Apple shareholder, I’m not as concerned with market-share as I am with company growth. As long as Apple Computer (they should eventually drop ‘Computer’ from their name) continues to leverage their patented inventions, while exploring new markets, I will continue buying and promoting their products as well as their stock.

    The iPod is a perfect example of Apple flexing their scientific muscle while employing a highly developed marketing sense. This is just the beginning of our journey from the macro into the micro frontier.

    Apple will become a lifestyle choice whose products will be woven into our appliances, furniture, clothing, and transportation as the Apple/Intel symbiosis continues to evolve in the decades to come.

    I won’t become filthy rich on my Apple investments and Apple Computer will never dominate the desktop computer market like Microsoft has, because the computer meme will change dramatically in the next fifty years. There will always be a place in the world for RCA, KIA, and Microsoft. Right along side Sony, BMW, and Apple. People are what they buy. PC vs. Mac? It’s a choice of lifestyles.

    Apple’s quarterly report is a strong indication that the Intel transition was a total success. The Macintosh platform has been reinvigorated with superlative hardware and a world-class operating system offering an unparalleled user experience.

    There is no computer on the planet as capable as the Macintosh! Now, is the time to unleash an advertising campaign to drive that point home.

    Macintosh. In a class by itself.

  5. The numbers suggest Apple and Toshiba will all but wipe Gateway off the Top 5 (in the US) by this time next year – Apple gaining third place and Toshiba slipping into fourth. Will that be enough to put Apple in the Top 5 world-wide? Don’t bet on it. And when can Apple expect to be #2? At an aggressive 1/3rd annual growth rate it will still be four or five more years – and that’s if the market doesn’t grow much. I’d be more impressed if they captured a Top 5 slot in the World rankings – there’s a whole lot of people wanting to buy computers out there and most of them are not in the US of A. Or maybe a Top 5 slot in the Server market – showing that IT is taking them seriously.

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