updated 05:15 pm EDT, Mon July 21, 2008
Jobs' health 'private'
After announcing its best quarter ever, questions about Steve Jobs' health still cast a shadow over the company's future. During the company's quarterly Investor Conference Call, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said Jobs' health is "a private matter," but that he intends to remain as CEO of Apple. Company officials said they would not comment further on the matter.
Questiions about the CEO's health surfaced again in June, when a gaunt-looking Jobs addressed Apple Developers. Over the past few days, some investors have become increasingly anxious, even speculating that problems with the iPhone 3G and MobileMe launches may be due to Jobs' health distraction. Jobs was diagnosed and treated for pancreatic cancer four years ago, and was pronounced in good health at the time. Oppenhiemer's refusal to specifically address questions about Jobs' health is likely to fuel more speculation. Analysts point out that four years ago Apple knew about Jobs' pancreatic cancer for nearly a year before making any public announcements.
Apple says it sold more Macs in the last quarter than in any other in its history. iPod and iPhone sales were strong, with price-cuts fueling the sale of iPod Shuffles. Apple executives said they were "excited" about the Apple's new product pipeline, but said next quarter's revenues will be impacted by a "product transition," but would not comment further. Oppenheimer predicts gross margins will drop to around 31.5 percent in the September quarter. down from 34.9 percent in the June quarter. He said three factors will affect revenue in the next quarter: back-to-school promotions, an upcoming product transition, and charges related to accounting methods used to book revenue from the iPhone.