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first_imgSAN JOSE – Apple Computer Inc. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter income more than quadrupled on torrid sales of iPod players and strong computer shipments for the school market, but company shares plunged more than 10 percent as revenue fell short of expectations. For the quarter that ended Sept. 24, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company earned $430 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $106 million, or 13 cents a share, for the same quarter in 2004. Excluding a special 12 cents-a-share tax benefit, Apple said it would have earned 38 cents a share. On that basis, the results exceeded the per-share estimate among Wall Street analysts by a penny, according to research firm Thomson Financial. Revenue rose to $3.68 billion, up from $2.35 billion in the year-ago fourth quarter but short of the $3.73 billion in sales that analysts were expecting. For the year, Apple reported earning $1.335 billion on revenue of $13.93 billion. “We had nearly $14 billion in revenue – the best in our history,” Oppenheimer said. For the first quarter of a new fiscal year, he said Apple expects to reach sales of $4.7 billion, up $1.2 billion, or about 34 percent, from the year-earlier first quarter. The company is set to unveil yet another new product today, and industry observers speculate it will be an iPod capable of playing video. Meanwhile, during a conference call with analysts, Oppenheimer cited an enormous backlog in orders for Apple’s newest portable player, the pencil-thin iPod Nano, released Sept. 7. One million were shipped before the fourth quarter ended, Oppenheimer said. He refused to say when he expected production constraints to ease so that supply would meet demand. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Nearly 6.5 million iPods were sold in the three months through Sept. 24, bringing cumulative sales of the portable player to about 28 million units, said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer. The iPod accounted for nearly one-third of the quarter’s revenue, while Macintosh computers – Apple’s historical core product – accounted for about 44 percent, with 1.2 million units sold. But analysts were expecting even more for the iPod – the sale of 7.5 million to 8.5 million units, said Shaw Wu, analyst with American Technology Research. Riding high on the success of its market-leading and ever-evolving line of iPods, Apple’s share price nearly tripled from its 52-week low of $18.83 on Dec. 12, 2004, to close up $1.22 at $51.59 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. After the income report was released Tuesday, Apple shares fell 10.5 percent, or $5.41, in late-session trading. “When you’re such a class act, it’s hard to keep it going,” said Wu. “I think investors got a little too excited, the stock got too high, and the stock is just trying to correct itself now.” last_img read more