Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple Q1 2009 earnings smackdown

January 21, 2009: 9:10 AM ET

1 Infinite Loop

UPDATE: The results are in! See Analyzing the analysts to find out who won the smackdown.

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It's that time of year again.

After the markets close on Wednesday, Apple (AAPL) will report its earnings for fiscal 2009 Q1. And once again blogger Andy Zaky has challenged the professional analysts -- most of whom, in his opinion, are clueless -- to do as good a job anticipating those results as he and his blogger buddies do.

Last quarter, the round went to the bloggers, who over-estimated Mac sales and therefore total revenue, but were far closer to the mark on nearly every other number (see Apple Q4 earnings: Analyzing the analysts).

This quarter, Zaky expects the pros to do even worse. "If previous earnings debacles weren't already embarrassing enough for the analysts," he writes, "then this quarter should be one for the books." (link)

The Street -- represented by Thomson Financial's polling data -- expects Apple to report a relatively anemic quarter, with earnings of $1.38 per share on revenue of $9.74 billion. (Apple's guidance offered a range: EPS between $1.06 and $1.35 on sales somewhere between $9.0 and $10.0 billion.)

Zaky, who tracks Apple in a blog called Bullish Cross, is expecting a blow-out quarter so much better than the Street's consensus -- as much as $1 billion -- that trading in Apple shares could be halted. The estimates of colleagues, whom he calls the "unaffiliated analysts" are pretty much in line with his.

The key, according to Zaky, will be the adjusted -- or non-GAAP -- earnings that fully report revenue from iPhone sales (see Spotlight on Apple's hidden revenue stream).

We'll find out who is right soon enough, thanks to the scorecard Zaky has provided. He's gathered all the analysts estimates he could get his hands on and assembled them in the spreadsheets pasted below the fold. (It's a work in progress and may contain errors; analysts with corrections or updates are welcome to mail them here.)

Tune in to this space after the markets close to get Apple's Q1 results and to follow our live blog of the company's earnings call with analysts and reporters.

Zaky's spreadsheets:

Zaky 2009 Q1 (1)

Zaky 2009 Q1 (2)

Zaky 2009 Q1 (3)

Zaky 2009 Q1 (4)

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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