Analysts: Coupling of Mac and Intel Pays Off

Apple’s big bet on Intel chips is paying off big time.

That appears to be the consensus of analysts following Apple Computer’s fiscal third-quarter earnings, July 19. The Cupertino, Calif., company announced its second best quarterly results ever, with net income of $472 million and earnings of 54 cents a share.

Those numbers were well above Wall Street estimates of 44 cents a share. While Apple’s iPod shipments get all the headlines, company officials claimed, and several analysts agreed, that the coupling of the Mac notebook line with Intel’s dual-core Core Duo processor appears to be paying off.

“There was lots of skepticism,” Tim Deal, an analyst with Technology Business Research in Hampton, N.H., said. “People were questioning whether it would add value to the Mac platform without taking anything away. What you have is a feature-laden product and I think it’s going to be a success for Apple.”

Apple reported that it sold a little more than 1.3 million Macs in the third quarter, a 12 percent growth from a year ago. The iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook and Mac Mini are already using the Intel processor.

Several experts expect that the Power Mac, as well as the desktop, will have Intel chips by the end of the year.

Click here to read more about Apple’s announcement that it would start using Intel processors.

In reporting to investors, company officials claimed to now hold 12 percent of the laptop market in the United States, an increase from 6 percent of the market a year ago.

In their talk to investors, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, said the 1.327 million Macs sold in the third quarter of 2006 represented the highest number of units ever sold in a 13-week quarter.

For Apple’s efforts last quarter, analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham & Company in New York raised his 2006 earnings per share estimate from $1.95 to $2.95, as well as its 2007 estimate from $2.45 to $2.50.

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