First financials without Jobs prove marked departure, as Cook attacks netbooks and issues legal threat to mobile rivals

Apple: Netbooks are inferior to laptops

Apple’s current standing CEO Tim Cook used the firm’s first quarter conference call to slam netbooks and issue a warning to other smartphone manufacturers that it will not hesitate to protect it IP if it feels their devices are too much like the iPhone, signalling a marked departure from Jobs’ traditionally sedate calls.

The vendor beat Wall Street estimates passing $10bn in revenue for the first time in its history, despite a backdrop of stalling PC sales.

It also posted a record $1.61bn in profit for the quarter, up 1.9 per cent on 2007’s figures, while revenues were up 5.9 per cent, at $10.17bn.

However, Cook’s outbursts were the highlight of the conference call, with the firm’s chief operating officer blasting netbooks as ‘inferior’. He said that they offered "hardware that was much less powerful than what customers want," had "cramped keyboards and small displays," adding "we think the products are inferior."

He also addressed the issue of mobile phone vendors increasingly encroaching on Apple’s hitherto perceived technological advantage. "We’ve said from the beginning that software is the key ingredient and we believe we’re years ahead in software development.

"We like competition as much as they don’t rip off our IP – and if they do, we’re going to go after anyone who does," he added unprompted. "We will not stand for having our IP ripped off – and we will continue to use any weapons that we have available. I don’t think I can be any more clear than that."

Apple’s Mac sales were up nine per cent, despite relative price increases, though down 11 per cent on the average growth within the portable computing sector according to IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker.

Apple’s chief financial officer Paul Oppenheimer put the much of the increase down to ‘pent up demand for the new MacBook models‘, which accounted for 72 per cent of all Mac sales.

Desktop sales were down 21 per cent year-on-year but he was keen to stress that 2007’s figures had been boosted by the launch of new iMac models, much in the way that this quarter’s MacBook sales had been boosted.

iPod sales were also up, albeit by three per cent, with the firm selling 22.73m devices throughout the quarter. iPhone sales were also up by 88 per cent, with over 4.4 m devices now being in circulation worldwide.

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