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Week in Review - 10/13/03-10/17/03

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Week in Review - 10/13/03-10/17/03
10/13/03-10/17/03 Apple News

As expected, Apple on Thursday launched the second generation of its iTunes Music Store for Windows users at a media event in San Francisco (live coverage). The new iTunes Music Store, part of the iTunes 4.1 update (also available for Mac), offers Windows users the same online music store that Mac users have come to appreciate -- with the same music catalog, the same personal use rights and the same US$0.99 cents-per-song pricing. "The iTunes Music Store has revolutionized the way people legally buy music online, and now it's available to tens of millions more music lovers with iTunes for Windows," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "While our competitors haven't even come close to matching our first generation, we're already releasing the second generation of the iTunes Music Store for Mac and Windows." iTunes is available as a free download for Mac OS X, Windows XP and Windows 2000.

Apple said its iTunes Music Store has sold more than 13 million songs since its launch six months ago, making it "the number one download music service in the world" with 70 percent of the online music market. Apple also said today that in addition to music from all five major music companies, it now has content from over 200 independent music labels, and will offer more than 400,000 songs by the end of October.

Apple also announced a free iPod software update that adds support for new Belkin voice recording and photo storage accessories for dockable iPods, allowing users to "record hundreds of hours of audio and store thousands of digital photos" on their iPod. Available for both Mac and Windows, the iPod software update also includes faster browsing and accessing of large music libraries, the ability to sync On-The-Go playlists back to iTunes and a new Music Quiz game which tests a player's knowledge of their own iTunes music library. The new Belkin iPod accessories are available starting today for a suggested retail price of US$49.99 for the Belkin Voice Recorder and $99.99 for the Belkin Media Reader.

Audible and Apple announced that more than 20,000 hours of audiobooks and other spoken word programs are now available for download exclusively from the iTunes Music Store. Through iTunes, Mac and Windows customers can preview and download audio editions of best-selling books, magazines, radio programs and original shows, manage audio content alongside their music collection, and take their entire audio library with them on their iPod.

America Online and Apple announced an alliance to provide instant, one-click registration to the iTunes Music Store for AOL's more than 25 million U.S. members starting later this quarter. America Online will integrate links to iTunes artists, albums and songs throughout its music site, AOL Music, which will give members the option to link directly to the specific iTunes Music Store page to preview and buy music as they browse and read music news and reviews.

Pepsi-Cola and Apple announced a promotion to legally give away 100 million free songs to Mac and Windows users from the iTunes Music Store. Beginning February 1, 2004, 100 million winning codes will be randomly seeded in 20 ounce and 1 liter bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist, and the winning codes will be redeemable for a free song from the iTunes Music Store. "Winners will simply go to Apple's iTunes Music Store, enter the code found under the bottle cap and choose any 99 cent song from the online store's vast catalog of over 400,000 songs." The Pepsi iTunes promotion will kick-off with a Super Bowl ad on February 1, 2004, and will run until March 31, 2004.

Apple on Wednesday posted a net profit of $44 million, or 12 cents a share, for its fiscal fourth quarter ended September 27. These results compare to a loss of $45 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter were $1.715 billion, up 19 percent from the year-ago quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of 7 cents per share, according to First Call. Apple said it shipped 787,000 Macintosh units during the quarter, up 7 percent from the year-ago quarter, as well as 336,000 iPods, up 140 percent from the year-ago quarter. For complete Q4 details, check out our highlights from Apple's conference call with financial analysts and press regarding the company's financial results.

"It was a great new product quarter for Apple," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We launched the Power Mac G5, the fastest personal computer in the world, new PowerBooks and new iPods. Plus, we're delivering Panther, the next major release of Mac OS X, later this month and we'll have some exciting news regarding our music efforts tomorrow."

"We are very pleased to have exceeded our revenue and profit targets for the fourth quarter," said Fred Anderson, Apple's CFO. "Our balance sheet remains strong and our working capital management is among the best in the industry. Looking ahead to the first quarter of fiscal 2004, we expect a sequential increase in revenues to about $1.9 billion and a slight sequential increase in GAAP earnings relative to the September quarter."

For the year, Apple reported net income of $69 million on revenues of $6.21 billion compared to net income of $65 million on revenues of $5.74 billion in 2002.

A new rock flavored iPod commercial is now available. The ad features the same style as the iPod print ads and hip-hop commercial that aired last week. The song featured this time is “Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by Jet. You will need QuickTime 6 to view the advertisement.

Apple said it will be opening two new retail stores on Friday, October 24, at 8:00 p.m. The stores are located at the University Towne Centre in San Diego, California, and the Legacy Village retail complex in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Both stores will have their grand openings on the same day that Apple Stores nationwide plan to host the "Night of the Panther" special event for the release of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. The event takes place from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Both stores have been previously mentioned on MacMinute.
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