iTunes as a standalone business would be ranked 130 in the Fortune 500

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Asymco has calculated that if iTunes were a standalone business, it would be ranked 130 in the Fortune 500 list of top U.S. companies after its gross annual revenue grew 34 percent year-on-year to $23.5B. This would put it between Alcoa and Eli Lilly in the rankings, and is almost half of Google’s core search business – not bad for what was originally intended to be a break-even operation

Growth was driven by increases in revenue from App sales reflecting continued growth in the installed base of iOS devices and the expansion in the number of third-party iOS Apps available. Net sales of digital content, including music, movies, TV shows and books, from the iTunes Store was relatively flat in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Asymco also calculated the cost to Apple of making both the Mavericks update and iWork software free …  Read more

Apple reports $57.6B revenue for Q1 2014: 51M iPhones, 26m iPads, 4.8m Macs, 6m iPods

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As expected, Apple just announced its fiscal year 2014 first quarter results for the all-important holiday quarter. It’s Q3 report only included less than a month of sales for the new iPhone 5s, 5c and revamped MacBooks, making today’s report the first to include a full three-month period of sales for the new devices on top of the expected boost in revenue leading into the holidays. It’s also the first report since Apple shipped the new Retina iPad mini, iPad Air, and Mac Pro.

Apple reported record quarterly revenue of $57.6 billion, which lands between its guidance for the quarter of $55-$58B and estimates by analysts averaging approximately $58.1B. It also reported net quarterly profit of $13.1 billion, or $14.50 per diluted share. Those numbers compare to the revenue of $54.5 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion reported in the same quarter last year.

Break down of device sales for Q1 2014 include 51 million iPhones, 26 million iPads (both all-time quarterly highs), 6 million iPods and 4.8 million Macs. Prior to today’s report the consensus from an average of analyst estimates predicted Apple would sell approximately 55M iPhones, 25M iPads, and 4.6M Macs. Read more

Over half analysts surveyed expect AAPL to beat its own high-end guidance today

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Update: The analysts were right to be optimistic, but not optimistic enough

As we wait for Apple to announce its Q4 results in this afternoon’s earnings call, more than half of the analysts included in Fortune’s survey expect the company to beat its high-end guidance of $37B. The average is driven up by the amateurs, who come in at $37.38B, while the professionals expect just a touch under the top end at $36.95B.

Predictions on both revenues and earnings do vary markedly, however. While the consensus view is that year-on-year revenues will be up 3 percent and earnings down 6 percent, even among the professionals the earnings estimates span a 15 percent range.

Top: FBN’s Shelby Seyrafi: $39.18 billion (up 9% year over year)
Bottom: Cantor Fitzgerald’s Brian White: $34.57 billion (down 4%)

Apple beating its own guidance wouldn’t have been remarkable in the days when Apple gave absurdly pessimistic guidance and then blew it away, but would be impressive since Cook started offering realistic ranges …  Read more

Google Play passes App Store in downloads for the first time, but not revenue

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According to data from App Annie’s latest download and revenue report, Google Play for the first time surpassed the App Store in app downloads during the second quarter of 2013. While Google was able to move past Apple with about 10 percent more downloads during the three month period, the report notes the App Store brought in nearly 2.3x the amount of revenue.

App Annie says that Google Play’s growth was driven by emerging markets including Brazil, India, and Russia, and while the App Store still leads by revenue, Google Play closed the gap slightly compared to last quarter and years past.

Google Play saw Brazil climb two spots to join India and Russia as another emerging market in the top 5 countries by downloads for Q2 2013…The United States, Japan and United Kingdom remained the leaders in the iOS App Store when looking at revenue generation, and Australia climbed to #4 after a strong Q2. iOS App Store revenue was driven primarily by the United States and Japan, which combined to account for about half of the total iOS App Store revenue in Q2.

App Annie’s report also includes its Games Index tracking mobile games on iOS and Android, which now account for around 40 percent of all downloads on both platforms. During Q2, Gameloft’s Despicable Me: Minion Rush grabbed the top spot for most downloaded iOS game, while publisher Tiny Piece took the honour on Google Play.

As for non-gaming apps, Vine increased by three positions to become the most downloaded app during the quarter on iOS, followed closely by YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram. Read more