“Never before has so much money been made by a single firm in such a short period of time,” The Economist writes. “On January 27th Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, announced that it had made $18 billion in its latest fiscal quarter, which ran almost to the end of December 2014. That beats the previous record of $15.9 billion reported by ExxonMobil, an oil company, in 2012, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.”
“Chief executives rarely admit to being dumbfounded by their companies’ performance, but Mr Cook said it was ‘hard to comprehend’ the extent of the interest in Apple’s products,” The Economist writes. “Apple is the world’s largest company by market capitalisation as well as its most profitable. Strikingly, it has risen to greatness using a rather old-fashioned business model: selling highly desirable objects at fat gross margins, which hit almost 40% in the latest quarter. The tech industry has spawned numerous software-based firms, such as Google and Facebook, that don’t have to worry about shifting goods around, yet they make much less than the Colossus of Cupertino.”
“This still leaves the company with a headache other firms would die to have: its Croesus-like mountain of cash, which now stands at $178 billion — a figure that is greater than the market capitalisations of information-technology giants such as Intel and IBM. Apple, which has already spent billions of dollars on share buy-backs, will revisit its plans to return money to shareholders and discuss them in April,” The Economist writes. “Mr Cook can expect plenty of calls from activist investors before then, no doubt from their shiny new iPhones.”
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