Apple delivers best quarter in company history - $4.31 billion in profits on $20.34 billion in revenue

Apple yesterday announced the best quarter in company history on record breaking iPhone and Mac sales. Apple reported $4.31 billion in profits on $20.34 billion in revenue.

Apple yesterday released its earnings report for the quarter gone by, and like usual, blew past Wall St. estimates with record breaking revenue and profits. During the 4th fiscal quarter of 2010, Apple reported EPS of $4.64 with profits of $4.31 billion on revenue of $20.34 billion. Putting Apple's impressive quarter into perspective, Apple, during the same quarter a year ago, reported profits of $2.53 billion on revenue of $12.21 billion.

Driving Apple's unprecedented quarter were sales of 3.89 million Macs and 14.1 million iPhones, both new sales records. Apparently "antennagate" didn't do much to stop the iPhone freight train as sales during the past quarter increased 91% from the same quarter a year ago. iPad sales checked in at 4.19 million units, and while impressive, the figure is slightly lower than some were expecting. But at the end of the day, Apple has proven once again that it can buck the trend and deliver not only strong, but record breaking, earnings reports even in challenging economic and market environments.

Apple’s press release reads:

We are blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings—both all-time records for Apple,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM sold in their most recent quarter. We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year.”

“We’re thrilled with the performance and strength of our business, generating almost $5.7 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $23 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $4.80.”

And in a surprise visit, Steve Jobs dropped in on the earnings conference call to celebrate, so to speak, Apple's first $20 billion quarter. Among other topics, Jobs took time to deliver a few jabs at Android and the notion that it's an open system relative to the iPhone.

Google loves to characterize Android as 'open' and iOS and iPhone as 'closed.' We find this a bit disingenuous and clouding the real difference between our two approaches. The first thing most of us think about when we heard the word 'open' is Windows, which is available on a variety of devices. Unlike Windows, however, where most PCs have the same user interface and run the same apps, Android is very fragmented. Many Android OEMs including the two largest, HTC and Motorola, install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user is left to figure it all out.

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