Apple has surprised analysts and the stock market this week byo.ack. preparing to release its first profit since September 1996.
Steve Jobs, co-founder and acting CEO of Apple, said the manufacturer had earned about $45 million in the last quarter ending 31 December 1997.
Jobs took the unusual step of revealing Apple's financial position at MacWorld, held in San Francisco last week.
Apple said the profit derived from a combination of better-than-predicted sales of its mid-range Power PC (G3), which was launched in November, together with wide-ranging cost-cutting measures.
Shares in Apple climbed 20 per cent after trading resumed on 7 January, and trading had been suspended to allow Nasdaq analysts the chance to assess the implications of the unexpected move. Over the past year, Apple has recorded losses of more than $1 billion and has also failed to find a suitable candidate for the position of permanent CEO.
The compatibility agreement struck with Microsoft in August appears to have signalled a change in fortune for the vendor. A representative at Apple UK said the Microsoft deal was undoubtedly responsible for reviving consumer confidence.
The stock market had a mixed response to the move with a number of Wall Street analysts urging caution about the company's prospects. The most positive reaction came from Credit Suisse First Boston, which on hearing the results, raised its rating on the company to 'buy' from 'hold'.
Countering this, however, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell reiterated its hold recommendation for shareholders.
Despite Apple's upturn in financial fortunes, the company has yet to find a replacement CEO for Jobs. When a CNBC interviewer asked Jobs whether he would take on the role of CEO permanently, Jobs ripped off his microphone and ended the interview, complaining: 'We really weren't going to talk about this.'
The network later denied making any prior agreement about the nature of the questions that Jobs would be asked.
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