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Steve Jobs on the Recession: “We’ll be fine.”

October 22, 2008

Great companies are producing solid earnings so far. Yesterday, Apple was the latest company to turn out solid resultsin the Panic of 2008. Still, Apple’s forecasts for revenue and earnings going forward were lower than analysts expected. So Apple may be fine but they are not immune from the slowdown.

My colleague Arik Hesseldahl covered the announcement.

“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.”

The other stunning news. Apple sold more cell phones than RIMM, which Jobs gleefully pointed out on the call. Having released its second iPhone product, the iPhone 3G in July, Apple sold 6.9 million iPhones, besting the 6.1 million BlackBerrys that RIM sold during the quarter ended Aug. 30.

Read the rest of the story here.