‘Disappointing’ iPhone 4S leads Apple to most profitable quarter in tech history

Disappointing” though it may have been to some, the iPhone 4S propelled what is now confirmed to have been the most profitable quarter any technology company has ever recorded. Apple on Wednesday reported record earnings for the December quarter, revealing a profit of $13.06 billion on revenue that surpassed $46 billion. Among technology companies, Apple’s fiscal first quarter represents the most profitable quarter ever recorded. Only one U.S. company has ever posted a more profitable quarter — Exxon managed a profit of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008 — and the driving force behind Apple’s record-setting performance was quite clearly the iPhone. Read on for more.

Apple sold a record 37.04 million iPhone handsets into channels last quarter, along with 15.43 million iPad tablets and 15.4 million iPods. No single smartphone line has ever moved more units in a single quarter, and no mobile portfolio has ever pulled in anywhere near the revenue and profit Apple has managed with its current iOS lineup. To cap things off, Apple reported that the total value of its cash and marketable securities reached $97.6 billion at the end of the first fiscal quarter. This almost certainly means that as of Wednesday when Apple reported its earnings, the company had amassed well over $100 billion in cash on hand.

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