Apple posts $708 million quarterly loss

The red ink just won't stop flowing from Apple Computer these days, as the company posted a tidy US$708 million loss this quarter. This is only one year after posting a $740 million loss in the same quarter of 1996. Apple said the loss contains a one-time $155 million charge for restructuring and a $375 million write-off to cover the acquisition of NeXT. Outside of those charges, the company posted a loss from operations of "only" $186 million, or $1.48 per share. This is still worse than last quarter's loss of $120 million and sales of Apple products continue to dwindle. Net sales were down to $1.6 billion for the quarter from $2.2 billion for the same quarter a year ago and Apple's market share has now fallen to 3% as PC sales surge.

"Financial results were a disappointment, but we have taken some major decisive, corrective action," said Gil Amelio, chairman and CEO of Apple. "We feel that the worst is behind us and we're back on track." Amelio has made similar comments each quarter and analysts have stopped sharing his optimism.

"It looks like things are going to continue to degrade," said Rob Enderle, a senior analyst at Giga Information Group. "The rest of the industry is dramatically lowering the cost of managing PCs, working on appliance-like PCs and NetPCs. I don't see Apple doing any of that."

"We will return to profitability," said Amelio, apparently to himself. Everyone else had stopped listening, except of course "MacWeek," which reported this story as "Company reports $1.6 billion in revenue." I guess that's one way to look at it

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