Apple on Tuesday posted its first quarterly profit decline in more than a decade at $9.5 billion, down 18% from a year ago. Revenue during the period rose 11%, but it was a sharp slowdown from 2012 and in previous years.
Chief executive Tim Cook acknowledged that Apple's once
stratospheric growth had tempered but stressed that the company's position remained strong.
"Though we've achieved a credible scale and financial success, we acknowledge that our growth rate has slowed and our margins have decreased from the exceptionally high level we experienced in 2012," he said in a rare admission.
The company's shares, which rose sharply when it announced a new dividend payment plan, retreated after Cook told analysts that "some really great stuff" was coming in the fall and 2014.
That suggested Apple would have no new products in the market for the next few months. Apple relies heavily on new product launches to drive revenue growth.
To free up more cash for shareholders
Apple on Tuesday bowed to investors' demands to share more of its $145 billion cash pile with them.
The new expanded capital plan includes issuing debt for the first time to fund $100 billion in share repurchases and higher dividends until the end of 2015. The plan makes Apple the largest dividend-paying company in the world. Apple has $144.7 billion in cash reserves, but that is held abroad, and it may find it cheaper to borrow money from the market for the share buyback.