Apple's Fall Shaking Up the PC Tree
That story about the turtlenecked marketing genius who brought an upstart and innovative company back from the brink of extinction -- you won't be hearing that again for a while.
Not after Thursday night, when Apple (AAPL) warned after the bell that fiscal fourth-quarter earnings would fall "substantially" short of expectations. The company said it expects to earn 30 cents to 33 cents per share, leaving it well short of the 45-cent First Call/Thomson Financial consensus. Apple forecast quarterly revenue of $1.85 billion to $1.9 billion, up from $1.83 billion in the third quarter.
That indicates extremely modest sequential growth, even as shareholders have been betting demand will rebound in the second half of this year as Apple rolled out the new product line it unveiled this summer at MacWorld.
Now investors have to consider the possibility that the strong boost the company got from the introduction of the colorful iMac in 1998 may not be sustainable. For unlike Intel (INTC), Apple didn't blame the euro, saying instead that sales were weak across all geographies. It noted slow sales of its new G4 Cube and a sluggish education market, which has historically been a strong point for Apple.In a press release, CEO Steve Jobs said: "Though this slowdown is disappointing, we have so many wonderful new products and programs in the pipeline, including Mac OS X early next year, and remain positive about our future." But investors just don't care. Apple last traded at $29.13 on Island, down 46% from New York trading close.
The iMac brought Apple back from the depths. What can the new products do?
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