Apple not immune to the economic pressures in Europe as shares dive following Q3 results and iPhone 5 gossip


Apple, the world’s largest company by market capitalisation and a juggernaut whose quarterly profits have a habit of blowing away analysts’ forecasts, showed that it was not immune to the economic pressures building in Europe.

Weaker-than-expected iPhone sales in France, Italy and Germany caused the company to miss revenue and earnings forecasts in the three months to 30 June, and sent Apple shares down over 5 per cent in after-hours trading last night.

Tim Cook, chief executive, also blamed internet rumours about the next generation iPhone, expected later in the year, which led some customers to put off purchases of the existing model.

Apple shipped 26 million iPhones in the quarter, 28 per cent more than in the same period last year but well below the 28 million to 29 million that Wall Street analysts had predicted.

Some observers added in strengthening competition from Samsung, maker of Galaxy smartphones and tablets, into the mix of factors damping Apple’s growth. Tero Kuittinen, analyst at Alekstra, said: “European sales dipped by a very surprising 6 per cent sequentially [from the last quarter]. The combination of Samsung's big roll-outs and suddenly weakening European consumer demand in June created some issues.”

In all Apple had sales of $35.0bn in the quarter, and net profit of $8.8bn, compared to $28.6bn and $7.3bn, respectively, last year. It sold 17.0 million iPads, an 84 per cent increase, but sales of Macintosh laptops and desktop computers, which have gained market share ever since Apple restored its cool with the invention of the iPod a decade ago, were up just 2 per cent.