The Information Technology 100
For Apple, the question is how much longer will its Golden Age last? After being dismissed as a computer industry has-been, Apple is once more the icon of innovation. CEO Steven P. Jobs has breathed new life into the company with a snazzy line of iPod music players. Some 16 million have been sold so far, creating a halo effect for Apple's Macintosh computers. The combination has boosted Apple's sales 72%, to $6.7 billion, in the past two quarters, from the same period a year ago. Profits have risen even faster, up 436%, to $585 million.
But some analysts worry that iPod sales could slow now that so many music-lovers have purchased one. And Mac lovers will soon be done upgrading to Apple's new Mac OS X operating system software. Moreover, Apple's five-month-old Mac mini hasn't been a major hit, despite being the cheapest Mac ever at $499. And, as if that weren't enough, Apple is now embarking on a tricky transition from IBM's PowerPC microprocessor to those made by Intel.
Oh sure, Apple has warned Wall Street to lower its expectations and look for growth of 15% or so a year. But given the scorching performance of recent years, bullish investors may not be satisfied.
|Return on Equity||11.8%|
|Industry||COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERALS|
|CORPORATE WEB SITE|
All figures are for the most recent available 12 months.
* Latest available data for the 12-month period ended Dec. 31, Jan. 31, Feb. 29, Mar. 31, or Apr. 30. For companies that do not report quarterly, the most recent annual data were used.
Data provided by Standard & Poor's Compustat, BusinessWeek
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