Political events, war, terrorism, public health issues, natural disasters and other circumstances could materially adversely affect the Company.
War, terrorism, geopolitical uncertainties, public health issues, and other business interruptions have caused and could cause damage or disruption to international commerce and the global economy, and thus could have a strong negative effect on the Company, its suppliers, logistics providers, manufacturing vendors and customers, including channel partners. The Company’s business operations are subject to interruption by natural disasters, fire, power shortages, nuclear power plant accidents, terrorist attacks, and other hostile acts, labor disputes, public health issues, and other events beyond its control. Such events could decrease demand for the Company’s products, make it difficult or impossible for the Company to make and deliver products to its customers, including channel partners, or to receive components from its suppliers, and create delays and inefficiencies in the Company’s supply chain. Should major public health issues, including pandemics, arise, the Company could be negatively affected by more stringent employee travel restrictions, additional limitations in freight services, governmental actions limiting the movement of products between regions, delays in production ramps of new products, and disruptions in the operations of the Company’s manufacturing vendors and component suppliers. The majority of the Company’s research and development activities, its corporate headquarters, information technology systems, and other critical business operations, including certain component suppliers and manufacturing vendors, are in locations that could be affected by natural disasters. In the event of a natural disaster, losses and significant recovery time could be required to resume operations and the Company’s financial condition and operating results could be materially adversely affected.
Please also refer to the discussion of risks related to the March 11, 2011, Japan earthquake and tsunami in Part I, Item 2, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” under the subheading “Japan Earthquake and Tsunami,” which is incorporated herein by reference.
The Company may be subject to information technology system failures, network disruptions and breaches in data security.
Information technology system failures, network disruptions and breaches of data security caused by such factors including, but not limited to, earthquakes, fire, theft, fraud, malicious attack or other causes could disrupt the Company’s operations by causing delays or cancellation of customer, including channel partner, orders, negatively affecting the Company’s online, iTunes, MobileMe and retail offerings and services, impeding the manufacture or shipment of products, processing transactions and reporting financial results, resulting in the unintentional disclosure of customer or Company information, or damage to the Company’s reputation. While management has taken steps to address these concerns by implementing sophisticated network security and internal control measures, there can be no assurance that a system failure or loss or data security breach will not materially adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and operating results.
The Company expects its quarterly revenue and operating results to fluctuate for a variety of reasons.
The Company’s profit margins vary among its products and its distribution channels. The Company’s software, accessories, and service and support contracts generally have higher gross margins than certain of the Company’s other products. Gross margins on the Company’s hardware products vary across product lines and can change over time as a result of product transitions, pricing and configuration changes, and component, warranty, and other cost fluctuations. The Company’s direct sales generally have higher associated gross margins than its indirect sales through its channel partners. In addition, the Company’s gross margin and operating margin percentages, as well as overall profitability, may be materially adversely impacted as a result of a shift in product, geographic or channel mix, new products, component cost increases, strengthening U.S. dollar, or price competition. The Company has typically experienced greater net sales in the first and fourth fiscal quarters compared to the second and third fiscal quarters due to seasonal demand related to the holiday season and the beginning of the school year, respectively. Furthermore, the Company sells more products from time-to-time during the third month of a quarter than it does during either of the first two months. Developments late in a quarter, such as lower-than-anticipated demand for the Company’s products, issues with new product introductions, an internal systems failure, or failure of one of the Company’s key logistics, components supply, or manufacturing partners, could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial condition and operating results.