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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 22:48 GMT 23:48 UK
Apple profits lead US tech icons
Man looking at Mac computers, Getty
Apple is riding high as it switches to Intel chips
Soaring sales of iPod players and MacBook laptops helped lift profits by 41% at Apple Computer.

The US technology icon reported earnings of $410m (229m) during the first three months of 2006, up from $290m at the same time last year.

Apple's gains outshone those at US chip giant Intel, which reported a drop in first quarter earnings to $1.35bn.

Internet auctioneer eBay also reported a dip in earnings to $248.3m, on the back of stock compensation costs.

Ebay's first-quarter net income was down 3% on the same time last year, although the California-based firm said that - excluding one-off costs - its profits for the period would have risen by 20%.

Falling demand

Apple's strong earnings performance - which was unveiled after Wall Street's close on Wednesday - beat market expectations and boosted the firm's shares in out-of-hours trading.

The company is in the middle of a major transition which has seen it switch the chips used in its computers to those produced by Intel, in a move designed to allow it to compete with PC rivals better.

However, Apple's gains did little to improve fortunes at Intel, which blamed slowing demand for PCs for the drop in its earnings.

The company revised its full-year forecast, warning that it expected revenue to slip by about 3%.

Intel is facing stiff competition from rival AMD, and the value of its shares have fallen by almost a quarter in the past 12 months.

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