Apple trumpets record iTunes billings of $4.3B in earnings report

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Record iTunes billings and iPhone sales helped Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) post fiscal third-quarter revenues of $35.3 billion, up slightly from $35 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net profits fell to $6.9 billion from $8.8 billion in the year-earlier period.

Click here for Apple's quarterly iPhone and iPad sales since 2007.

"We continue to be very pleased with the growth and the strength of the Apple ecosystem," Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said during the company's quarterly earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "With the broadest geographic reach and depth of content in the industry, our iTunes Stores generated record billings of $4.3 billion in the June quarter culminating in our best months and best week ever for App Store billings at the very end of the quarter. The quarter's iTunes billings translated to quarterly revenue of $2.4 billion, up 29 percent from the year-ago quarter with strong growth in revenue in both content and apps. The continued strong iTunes sales combined with other software and service revenue resulted in total quarterly revenue of $4 billion from iTunes software and services."

Oppenheimer noted that cumulative iOS app downloads recently eclipsed the 50 billion mark. Third-party developers have raked in more than $11 billion through App Store sales, with half of that total earned during the past four quarters. "Our vibrant ecosystem continues to drive tremendous user engagement with our devices and services," Oppenheimer continued. "We now have over 320 million iPod accounts and 240 million Game Center accounts, and our customers have sent almost 900 billion iMessages, uploaded over a 125 billion photos and received over 8 trillion push notifications."

Beyond the iOS platform, iTunes users have downloaded more than 1 billion TV episodes and 390 million movies to date, and continue purchasing roughly 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day. Those numbers will continue to grow in tandem with iOS device purchases: Apple sold 31.2 million iPhones, a record for the June quarter, compared with 26 million in the year-ago period. It also sold 14.6 million iPad tablets, down from 17 million in the year-ago quarter.

Apple is turning to the massive Chinese market to fuel the next phase of iOS ecosystem growth. "We continue to attract a lot of developers from China," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. "We now have about [500,000] developers in China that are working on iOS apps and that's up almost 70 percent year-over-year. We're obviously paying the developers quite a bit and so that's furthering advancement of the ecosystem of developers. We're continuing to invest in distribution, we're going to double the number of retail stores there for the next two years and we're continuing to lift iPhone point of sales and iPad sales, both of which are currently lower than where we would them or need them today but we're doing that very cautiously… China is a huge opportunity for Apple."

For more:
- read this release
- see this FierceWireless article
- read this Seeking Alpha transcript

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