Apple has 4th most profitable quarter in history of Earth

Today, Apple announced it's Q1 result for 2012, bringing in record profits which surpass anything the company has ever seen. The Cupertino giant reported revenue of $46.33 billion, with net profit of $13.06 billion. Not bad for a company that was floundering just ten years ago.

What's staggering, however, is this table over on Wikipedia that shows the "largest corporate quarterly earnings of all time" where Apple comes in at fourth place.

# Company Industry Country Year Fiscal Quarter Report Date Earnings (bn) USD Inflation to June 2011 USD Real Earnings (bn)
1 Gazprom Oil and gas  Russia 2011 1Q 30 August 2011 $16.24    
2 Royal Dutch Shell Oil and gas  Netherlands 2008 2Q 30 June 2008 $15.68 3.16% $16.18
3 ExxonMobil Oil and gas  United States 2008 3Q 30 September 2008 $14.8 3.17% $15.27
4 Apple Consumer electronics  United States 2012 1Q 24 January 2012 $13.06 0% $13.06
5 ExxonMobil Oil and gas  United States 2007 4Q 31 December 2007 $11.66 7.47% $12.53
6 ExxonMobil Oil and gas  United States 2005 4Q 31 December 2005 $10.71 14.7% $12.28
7 ExxonMobil Oil and gas  United States 2008 2Q 30 June 2008 $11.68 3.16% $12.05
8 ExxonMobil Oil and gas  United States 2006 3Q 30 September 2006 $10.49 11.25% $11.67

A quick inspection of the chart shows just how close Apple is to the top, a mere $3 billion away from being the most profitable ever. What you may not have noticed, however is that Apple is the only consumer electronics company on the chart. Actually, the company is the only one that isn't in the oil and gas sector, which is incredible.

The below graph from MacRumors shows just how big of a jump Apple experienced this quarter compared to previous ones, and it's hard to grasp the scale of money involved. For a company that "failed" by launching the iPhone 4S, they're doing pretty well.

It's hard to see how a company this large (Apple is worth more than Greece now, by the way) could lose such a tight grip on the market, unless it fell into complacency like companies such as RIM did. It's likely we'll see some revolutionary products this year that are very different from anything we've seen before.

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a few reasons why they made so much.
1: They kept being low lifes and sued cuzz they are greedy buggers.
2: They overcharge on everything(they rip people/Small business people off)
3: their stuff is ick proprietary meaning can't change easily(Because of stupid security chip on thier mobos) and hence are forced to pay more for upgrades.
4: They restrict you on everything and they want you to pay for everything.
4: They hate competition means fairer prices.
5: they only care about there end and not the customers.(I look out for the customers end not the business as they make plenty of cash)
6: they can sweet talk you into buying more apple junk.
7: forced to rely on one piece of junk iTunes for media syching/etc... . If it don't work your screwed(No choice which is evil)
8: Steve Fail Jobs could have fixed all this when he was around but chose not to(Typical greedy bugger). This new dude doesen't seem like he is doin any better. Lower prices damnit and Not being so restrictive is something apple needs to correct.
Instead of passing costs all the costs down to consumers, pass some of it down to companies like apple who have billions of cash just sitting there doin nuttin.

Lot's of Hipster Nerd and Metrosexual couple buy Apple Products... I laughted hard when my cousin (and he's girlfriend) called me about gaming on MAC (he had a PC before) with Boot to Windows software. I told him ; Humm you bought a MAC to play games? WTH and in my head i was telling myself, well it's just fitting to have a MAC in you're world..

I have nothing agaisn't Apple personnaly. I just hate their products (mostly hardware) because they are linked to 1 software (Itunes)...

ryoohki said,
Lot's of Hipster Nerd and Metrosexual couple buy Apple Products... I laughted hard when my cousin (and he's girlfriend) called me about gaming on MAC (he had a PC before) with Boot to Windows software. I told him ; Humm you bought a MAC to play games? WTH and in my head i was telling myself, well it's just fitting to have a MAC in you're world..

I have nothing agaisn't Apple personnaly. I just hate their products (mostly hardware) because they are linked to 1 software (Itunes)...


Clearly you don't know much about computers in general if that is your attitude in 2012. Most uninformed rant I've seen this week. 'boot to windows' software indeed.

Well the part about gaming on a Mac is spot on. If you bought a Mac to game on, um, yeah. Even with bootcamp, you still have to buy the danged windows license. So you'll have paid 1,000 minimum (for the low end Mac that would probably run the game like crap) and then another 200 on top of it. Point? Spend a grand and get a PC that has good specs and have fun gaming.

Hey, the 1% need a place to shop, stop giving them grief about it. Was the Gates foundation really responsible for saving the lives of 5.5 million children under the age of 5? There are no profits to be had in that kind of behavior!

As horrible as this is to say, I wonder if Steve Jobs' passing (And all the media reporting) had anything to do with these sales numbers. I guess it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. And beyond the short term, what happens when Apple is on its own to develop and release new lines of their products. I wonder how many years into the future Steve Jobs had designs worked out. Say what you want, but he was a micro manager and involved in every facet. Generally, that lowers the value of a company as it cannot operate and succeed in the market at the same level once that person is gone. So it will be very interesting to see what happens.

M_Lyons10 said,
As horrible as this is to say, I wonder if Steve Jobs' passing (And all the media reporting) had anything to do with these sales numbers. I guess it will be interesting to see if this trend continues. And beyond the short term, what happens when Apple is on its own to develop and release new lines of their products. I wonder how many years into the future Steve Jobs had designs worked out. Say what you want, but he was a micro manager and involved in every facet. Generally, that lowers the value of a company as it cannot operate and succeed in the market at the same level once that person is gone. So it will be very interesting to see what happens.
This.

I'd put my money on it being a successful quarter because it was the holiday season, and a new iPhone was launched on more carriers. I doubt Jobs' passing had much to do with it because the trend started before he died. Each year, Apple sells more iPhones and iPads than the previous years combined.

I don't think all quarters will be record breaking. They may fall short some quarters like they already have, but I think year to year they will continue to grow.

It's likely we'll see some revolutionary products this year that are very different from anything we've seen before.

Highly unlikely. I think with the iPad 3 we will just see Siri, Retina Display, quad-core is possible, maybe a bump in the resolution and maybe a bump in the camera specs. Hardly revolutionary.

I think the iPhone 5 (6th Generation model) we will see quad-core, a bump in the camera specs a different design, a 4-inch device and maybe a better scree resolution (I don't know what that will do to the current apps on the market). Again, hardly revolutionary.

Both devices will see LTE which will hinder the battery life and I'm sure Apple is not happy about that. But it is what the people want (at least in the U.S.).

I highly doubt we'll see flexible display (which would have been "revolutionary").

i'm not a fan of apple's stuff (mainly because I can't afford them hahaha) but hey,

hats off to apple. They deserve this for everything they've done for the industry. Google and carry on touting android activation numbers for all I care.

FalseAgent said,
i'm not a fan of apple's stuff (mainly because I can't afford them hahaha) but hey,

hats off to apple. They deserve this for everything they've done for the industry. Google and carry on touting android activation numbers for all I care.


Haha good one! They have done a lot of good for the industry you mean screwing everyone in the industry over right?

ahhell said,
It's a good thing that they pay dividends.

Oh wait....

Why should they pay dividends ? Apple's a share 10 years ago brought, without dividend 4000%.
Microsoft's share with dividend brought 50% for the same period.

What's odd is that according to the chart from MacRumors, Apple made no money at all from Macs in the entire quarter. Unless they are all contained within that minute purple slice...

If MacRumors don't know the difference between a "CPU" and a "computer", then everything else they say should be treated with the credibility it deserves.

Not denying Apple's impressive earnings, though. Just wish they could go about their business in a way that isn't elitist, brutal and domineering. What's better

Timble said,
What's odd is that according to the chart from MacRumors, Apple made no money at all from Macs in the entire quarter. Unless they are all contained within that minute purple slice...

This is quite possibly true. It's iPods and iPads that make them their money I think..

Laura said,

This is quite possibly true. It's iPods and iPads that make them their money I think..


Dont forget the iPhone as well....

Timble said,
What's odd is that according to the chart from MacRumors, Apple made no money at all from Macs in the entire quarter. Unless they are all contained within that minute purple slice...

If MacRumors don't know the difference between a "CPU" and a "computer", then everything else they say should be treated with the credibility it deserves.

There is a difference between revenue and profits so make sure you are not looking at a profits chart on MacRumors. The chart above is a revenue chart which shows only the money that came in, not what it cost to make that money come in. If you spend $100 million on production and make $100 million in revenue, you still made no money.

Timble said,
What's odd is that according to the chart from MacRumors, Apple made no money at all from Macs in the entire quarter. Unless they are all contained within that minute purple slice...

If MacRumors don't know the difference between a "CPU" and a "computer", then everything else they say should be treated with the credibility it deserves.

Not denying Apple's impressive earnings, though. Just wish they could go about their business in a way that isn't elitist, brutal and domineering. What's better

Look at the report :

Desktops: $1.94 billion, up 12 percent from $1.73 billion a year earlier.
Portables: $4.66 billion, up 26 percent from $3.7 billion a year earlier.
iPod: $2.53 billion, down 26 percent from $3.43 billion a year earlier.
Music: $2.03 billion, up 42 percent from $1.43 billion a year earlier.
iPhone: $24.42 billion, up 133 percent from $10.5 billion a year earlier.
iPad: $9.15 billion, up 99 percent from $4.6 billion a year earlier.
Peripherals: $766 million, up 29 percent from $593 million a year earlier.
Software & Services: $844 million, up 7 percent from $786 million a year earlier.

Oh here we go .. over priced, people buy them because to look cool, and so on..

change the record folks, some people buy them because they are nice looking products that do their job very well... not everyone is a super nerd who cares about mhz,ghz,ddr,gb,fps... people just want a product they can switch on and works.. apple delivers that.

some say it's over priced, others say you get what you pay for. flicking through facebook this morning someone posted 'some people might say this is geekish, but i was well impressed when i switched off the light and my macbook screen automatically dimed, switching the light straight back on increased the brightness' ....ok it's not revolutionary, and i'm not saying other laptops dont do it... but it's things like this that the general consumer likes over anything else...

Uplift said,
Oh here we go .. over priced, people buy them because to look cool, and so on..

Well yes they are (their margins confirm this) and people do. Their good products in their own right but that doesn't exclude those two points from being part of the story of how they've got more money than er.. just about anybody in the bank!

What worries me (and others) is their aggressive and exclusive behaviour - in the end this does nothing for the likes of you and I and doesn't half smack of the days of Microsoft behaving in such a way. Apple get away with a lot at the moment - and if it were another company I'd suggest they'd be looked at a hell of a lot closer. "Shiny" gets you a lot of credit apparently!

The very fact that you posted to "defend" them goes to show this - and if nothing else you have to admire their amazing marketing and how pervasive the brand is with consumers. That, truely, is magical.

Funny how Google's in the gun but Apple is much more evil, monopolistic and anti-competitive in everything they do. It's everything that Microsoft was regarded as in the 90s but a whole lot worse. If they havn't had any investigation into their business practices now, they probably never will... They own too many senators for that to ever happen. Google are obviously not paying enough bribe money... uh... Campaign donations.

Normally you would admire a company for doing that well but sadly Apple has been such a douche in the last 12 months and using dirty tactics to extract more sales. I said in another post that this will only damage technology as a whole when a company stops innovating because they will still get the sales anyway, and I'm not trolling, I have seen it in other businesses. Lets hope the innovation from Microsoft, Google and others shine in 2012 and this is the last hurrah from Apple.

See, what bothers me here isn't that Apple is on the list. I don't personally like their products, but whatever. What bothers me is that the gas companies took the other 9 spots. Especially considering that they are all during times when the gas companies said they needed to raise the price of fuel in order to "maintain" current profit levels. Seems to me that they might not have needed to do anything considering based on the chart they must have exceeded their previous profit levels.

Most disturbing.

lunarx3dfx said,
See, what bothers me here isn't that Apple is on the list. I don't personally like their products, but whatever. What bothers me is that the gas companies took the other 9 spots. Especially considering that they are all during times when the gas companies said they needed to raise the price of fuel in order to "maintain" current profit levels. Seems to me that they might not have needed to do anything considering based on the chart they must have exceeded their previous profit levels.

Most disturbing.

Thanks for this. I could have liked your comment 1000 times if I could.
Increased oil prices is the sole reason of inflation. Yet we wonder why there is inflation. The oil companies use their clout and money to control government which in turn sees their profits rise. The oil companies are also somewhat scared that in next 50 years, the earth's oil reserves would be depleted and they would have to change their business. Hence they want to make the most out of it by charging a premium. OMG, same analogy applies to Apple and hence their prices? I may just have found the reason Apple is in that list.

Actually it's the other 18 spots out of top 19.

They said the gas is cheaper in the US, but of the 18 on the chart, 14 is US Exxon Mobile.

I guess there is no escaping paying for oil and gas ...

Edited by Maysky, Jan 25 2012, 12:35pm :

lunarx3dfx said,
See, what bothers me here isn't that Apple is on the list. I don't personally like their products, but whatever. What bothers me is that the gas companies took the other 9 spots. Especially considering that they are all during times when the gas companies said they needed to raise the price of fuel in order to "maintain" current profit levels. Seems to me that they might not have needed to do anything considering based on the chart they must have exceeded their previous profit levels.

Most disturbing.

Everyone uses fuel in some form or another in every aspect of their lives. Unless you live in total isolation.. so it's natural that those companies would do well. These levels of profits for a basic necessity are somewhat obscene.

Laura said,

Everyone uses fuel in some form or another in every aspect of their lives. Unless you live in total isolation.. so it's natural that those companies would do well. These levels of profits for a basic necessity are somewhat obscene.


Remember too that large portions of oil production don't even go into fuel, they go into other consumer products such as plastics.

perochan said,
january is not even over yet in the early Q1 and apple already made that much? holy sh**!!!!

WTF are ppl buying???


iPhones, apparently.

perochan said,
january is not even over yet in the early Q1 and apple already made that much? holy sh**!!!!

WTF are ppl buying???

Fiscal Q1 for Apple ended on December 31st.

perochan said,
january is not even over yet in the early Q1 and apple already made that much? holy sh**!!!!

WTF are ppl buying???


Siri got so much attention when introduced, that we even have "Siri comedy" websites now. Apple nailed the 4S since they chose a feature like this that became surprisingly popular, once again showing surprising insight in what their users like. I don't think the 4S would have sold as well with no feature like that to bring it to mainstream media popularity, and instead a 4" screen. This is where Apple and many Android manufacturers are different. Last time, it happened with the iPad. People didn't realized how much they wanted one until they had one.

Also, the "Apple fans buy anything Apple" argument don't hold. I'm basing this post not on how I use products, but what my mom and dad like. They are far from Apple fans.

sanke1 said,
How can we even say that Apple "failed" by launching 4S. Just look at those numbers.

I agree - it's a resounding success and they must of had even better margins considering it wasn't a complete overhaul (more like a refresh) of the previous model. I know plenty of folk who don't talk about getting a new phone, they talk about getting a new iPhone - the specs and the functionality don't even enter into their decision making process and they're blissfully unaware of the competition. Amazing.

Matt Sharpe said,
Well I guess this is what happens when you overcharge for stuff and yet people head out in droves to buy it.

It's not just that the prices for apple devices are outrageous, is that despite the fact that most of the things they use are re-invented or re-introduced as apple brand, It's that their "loyal" fans or fan-boys are spamming the web and setting their lifestyle according to the next thing apple decides to create. In that way Apple isn't just selling overpriced computers and electronic devices it's selling overpriced lifestyle and I'm not giving any money to buy my way into their lifestyle.

When they decide to make devices and computers for the "common" people rather than the wannabe-posh, give me a call

Matt Sharpe said,
Well I guess this is what happens when you overcharge for stuff and yet people head out in droves to buy it.

Based on what are you saying this? If Apple was overcharging, no one would be buying their stuff. People still think that the money they pay is still worth it. So Apple is not overcharging. They actually found a price tag that people accept paying and still allow Apple to make money.

einsteinbqat said,

Based on what are you saying this? If Apple was overcharging, no one would be buying their stuff. People still think that the money they pay is still worth it. So Apple is not overcharging. They actually found a price tag that people accept paying and still allow Apple to make money.

Their mark-up is above industry average, this is how they are so profitable.
Example (with made up numbers):
iPad cost to make: $300, cost to consumer: $800
Non-iPad cost to make: $300, cost to consumer: $600
Apple profit: $500
Non-Apple profit: $300

So yes, they are overcharging compared to equivalent products. They could be charging less, but since people are willing to pay high prices they don't need to. There's a sucker born every minute. I don't think Matt was saying it's a entirely bad thing, he's just explaining how they are so profitable.

theokent said,

It's not just that the prices for apple devices are outrageous, is that despite the fact that most of the things they use are re-invented or re-introduced as apple brand, It's that their "loyal" fans or fan-boys are spamming the web and setting their lifestyle according to the next thing apple decides to create. In that way Apple isn't just selling overpriced computers and electronic devices it's selling overpriced lifestyle and I'm not giving any money to buy my way into their lifestyle.

When they decide to make devices and computers for the "common" people rather than the wannabe-posh, give me a call

I think that I was once like you. I resisted the iPod for many years. I ended up going through many different brands of MP3 player and they all worked OK and I was pretty happy with my choices but all my friends had iPods.

Finally I jumped on board and got my first iPod. I really liked it, I liked iTunes and I liked that way that the Apple MP3 player was easy to use, no drag and drop, just plug in and sync with my music library.

Over the years I purchased more iPods, iPhones and now Mac's, Mac Books, Apple routers and Apple TV's.

Originally there was a fear moving from Windows, will I be able to do what I need with Apple? Can I trust Apple?

The bottom line is that my life is better with Apple products. Less fuss, easier. I trust Apple and when they release a new product I find myself saying 'why wont I buy this product'? The iPad was a good example of this, It was a no brainer and I got it on day 1 and I use it every day.

Be careful or this may happen to you, it can happen to anyone if you get over the fear of something new.

JakeSWE said,
Holy crap!

its crazy to think a company that sold MP3 players is becoming the biggest and most profitable company ever.. How do people call oil companies brutal but are in love with this one.. I will never understand peoples need to "fit in" and buy what everyone else gets based solely on the goal to be piked more.. (not saying all apple people do this but a huge chunk of them do).. Ever since I sold my iPod classic 80gb for 250 bucks and bought and got a generic 20 dollar one, I've never been happier..

Lachlan said,

its crazy to think a company that sold MP3 players is becoming the biggest and most profitable company ever.. How do people call oil companies brutal but are in love with this one.. I will never understand peoples need to "fit in" and buy what everyone else gets based solely on the goal to be piked more.. (not saying all apple people do this but a huge chunk of them do).. Ever since I sold my iPod classic 80gb for 250 bucks and bought and got a generic 20 dollar one, I've never been happier..


Do you actually have evidence that 'a huge chunk' of 'Apple people' buy stuff purely to be liked more? Maybe they just like the products because Apple make good stuff?

If you're basing this on how teenagers and hipsters behave, well it's not just Apple stuff they buy in fads and fashions. But I know plenty of people who buy Apple stuff because they like the products and those products work well for them. They don't really show off or brag about owning these things.

And if your choice of mp3 player defines your life's happiness levels you're no better than some Apple fanboy type

Lachlan said,

its crazy to think a company that sold MP3 players is becoming the biggest and most profitable company ever.. How do people call oil companies brutal but are in love with this one.. I will never understand peoples need to "fit in" and buy what everyone else gets based solely on the goal to be piked more.. (not saying all apple people do this but a huge chunk of them do).. Ever since I sold my iPod classic 80gb for 250 bucks and bought and got a generic 20 dollar one, I've never been happier..

Clueless. Besides I hear people say this so much doesn't this mean your following a trend by blurting the same crap?

Maysky said,
Boycott the Oil and Gas companies!!! Oh, wait ... darn ...

Well then you know whats next... Apple iGas

LOL @ people defending the largest corporation in the world.. They are not your friend.. they do not care about you.. they are no different then a bank or oil company.. This is capitalism at its best and they are making huge profits off of normal people that believe they need these silly gadgets..

Atleast an oil company provides a good that everyone needs and provide the fuel source for people to travel the world, visit your friends, get to work... An iPhone is a hyped up MP3 player that has 3rd party apps made with other peoples sweat to add value to their own product..

Lachlan said,
LOL @ people defending the largest corporation in the world.. They are not your friend.. they do not care about you.. they are no different then a bank or oil company.. This is capitalism at its best and they are making huge profits off of normal people that believe they need these silly gadgets..

Atleast an oil company provides a good that everyone needs and provide the fuel source for people to travel the world, visit your friends, get to work... An iPhone is a hyped up MP3 player that has 3rd party apps made with other peoples sweat to add value to their own product..

If you have a problem with an Apple product you will soon find out that Apple ARE your friend. Never ever have I had such good support from any other company on this planet.

Just last week I walked into a local Apple store and talked to a Genius about a potential problem with my iPhone 4S. 5 minutes later I walked out of the store with a replacement phone. No mess, no fuss. Try doing this with a Nokia or a Samsung Phone.

I know I pay more for my Apple gear but I also know that it will be mostly trouble free (compared with tech purchases from other companies) and when I do have the occasional issue I know that I will be looked after.