Apple sells 4.4M iPhones in Q1, warns competition

Apple bucked the trend facing technology companies and posted solid results for its fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 27, and said it sold 4.4 million iPhones in the quarter.

Apple's net income for the quarter was $1.61 billion, up from $1.58 billion in the year-ago period. The firm sold 4.4. million iPhones in the quarter, down sequentially from the 6.9 million it sold in its fiscal fourth quarter--the first quarter impacted by the release of the iPhone 3G--but up 88 percent from the year-ago period.

The company is facing a probe from the Securities and Exchange Commission into Apple's disclosure about the health of the company's founder, Steve Jobs, who stepped down temporarily as CEO last week. Jobs had said earlier in January that his health problems were related to a hormone imbalance and that he would remain as CEO. Then, last week, he said his health problems were more complicated than he thought and he would take a leave of absence until June. Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, is handling his day-to-day duties while he is away.

Cook, while saying that competition was a good thing to have in the mobile space, issued a pointed warning, aimed perhaps at Palm, whose recently announced Pre smartphone device shares many of the iPhone 3G's features. "I'm just making a general statement that we think competition is good; it makes us all better. And we're ready to suit up and go against anyone," he said in the earnings conference call. "However, we will not stand for having our [intellectual property] ripped off and we'll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal. I don't know that I can be more clear than that."

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