Apple, EMC, AMD post earnings

Revenue and profit reports from U.S. technology companies continue to show wild variations. In the latest batch of quarterly earnings reports, Apple soared to new heights, EMC showed solid progress and AMD went into the red with exceptional charges.

First the good news. In Apple’s first fiscal quarter to the end of December, revenue was up 73 percent to $46.3 billion and pre-tax profits more than doubled from $7.96 billion to $17.5 billion. Net income was $13.1 billion compared with $6 billion in the same quarter of the previous year.

The consumer products company that Steve Jobs left to the world was firing on almost all cylinders. In the Christmas quarter, sales of Macintosh computers rose 26 percent to 5.2 million units, sales of iPhones jumped 128 percent to 37.1 million units and iPads were up 111 percent to 15.4 million units.

Even Apple’s TV set-top box reached over 1.4 million units, compared with 2.8 million in the previous year. And that from a product line that chief executive Tim Cook characterised as a “hobby” for the company.

The weak spot was the iPod which, without a refresh, continued its decline – falling another 21 percent to 15.4 million units in the quarter.

Also reporting record results was storage giant EMC. Its fourth quarter revenue rose 14 percent to $5.6 billion and net income was up 32 percent to $872.6 million. For the year, revenue rose 18 percent to $20 billion and net income rose 30 percent to $2.6 billion.

This was the year when EMC’s acquisitions really paid off. It has successfully expanded into mid-tier markets with acquired product lines and adoption of indirect sales partners. And its concept of focusing on “the cloud and big data” resting on trust built with security offerings seems to have legs.

Chief executive Joe Tucci said he would stay at his post to the end of this year and expected to name a successor from inside the company to lead it in 2013.

Definitely not reporting record results was Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) which reported fourth quarter revenue flat at $1.7 billion and a loss of $177 million. For the year as a whole, revenue was flat at $6.6 billion and net income was $491 million.

The results came after exceptional items: an impairment charge of $209 million in respect of its investment in GlobalFoundries, a loss of $4 million from discontinued operations, a charge of $3 million for amortisation of intangibles, a loss of $1 million on repurchased debt and a charge of $98 million for restructuring.

That, presumably will follow from the work of three newly-recruited senior executives. They will be busy.