Steve Jobs may not be sure how much the economic slump will hurt Apple, but he's clear on this: It won't be as bad as pessimists predict. And for the first time in eight years, he got on an analyst conference call to discuss quarterly results to make sure the point wasn't lost on anyone.
"We may get buffeted by the waves a bit, but we'll be fine," Jobs said on the call, following the release of Apple's fiscal fourth-quarter results. Evidence of the buffeting may already be showing up. Apple (AAPL) reported $7.9 billion in sales, below the average estimate of analysts, which had come in at $8.05 billion. As for the fiscal first quarter, which includes the all-important holiday selling season, Apple forecast sales of $9 billion to $10 billion, more than $500 million less than analysts were expecting. Per-share earnings will come in at $1.06 to $1.35, at least 30¢ below the consensus estimate. CFO Peter Oppenheimer said the company was being "prudent" in light of the uncertain economy.