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Are Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Shipments Deceiving?

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)Research firm IDC released its estimates of worldwide tablet shipments for Q1 2013. The results may surprise some, but most of the companies showed an increase. Some people may not agree with the title of this post, but hear me out.

Yes, it is true, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)s  number of shipments increased. IDC states:

Apple outperformed IDC’s most recent projections for the quarter, shipping 19.5 million units compared to a forecast of 18.7 million units. The company, which historically has experienced a steep drop off in first-quarter shipments (following strong holiday sales in the fourth quarter), saw some smoothing of that seasonality this year. Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple.

As usual Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s revenue increased, but interestingly the company experienced its first drop off in quarterly profits since 2003. In Q1 of last year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) posted profits of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per share, on revenue of $39.2 billion. This year? Profits of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per share, and revenue of $43.6 billion. International sales accounted for 66% of the companies quarterly revenue, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) then announced it would increase its buyback program from $10 billion to $60 billion.

Let’s look at how its tablet sales may not have actually increased. The chart below shows how other companies actually gained far more market share than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The shipment measurements are in millions.

(Source: IDC)

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) tripled its shipments from a year ago, and posted solid earnings as a result. Yes, Amazon’s earnings were $0.10 lower than a year ago, but they were also $0.10 higher than expected. Total sales of $16.1 billion were slightly below analysts’ expectations, but the company increased its revenue guidance by $1.7 billion in Q2.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) doesn’t typically release the number of Kindle devices it sells, but the company seems to be far more focused on devices than in the past.

PC sales have been persistently decreasing recently, and IDC reports that PC shipments declined by 13.9% from the same period in 2012. Despite these figures, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) still posted solid earnings in Q1. The company pulled in $20.5 billion in its fiscal third quarter, 18% higher than in 2012. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) also posted diluted earnings per share of $0.72, which represents a 20% increase.

In fact, Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division was up 56% from the year-ago quarter. As the chart above shows, Microsoft wasn’t even in the market for tablet devices in 2012, but has since gained a 1.8% share.

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