accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc”

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Question Description

Major:Accounting

Requirement:

1、this is an individual case study assignment:“accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc”

2、Read the requirement carefully,you should according to the requirement and the other 6 documents ,then finish theassignment.

3、when u finished,send me a turnitin report.

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9 -1 1 1 -0 0 3 REV: SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 FRANCOIS BROCHET KRISHNA G. PALEPU LAUREN BARLEY Accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc. On October 21, 2008, Apple Inc. announced financial results for Q4 of FY 2008 ended September 27, 2008 (see Exhibit 1). Under the U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Apple reported quarterly revenue of $7.9 billion and net profit of $1.1 billion. For the first time, the Cupertino, California-based company included non-GAAP measures in its earnings announcement to supplement its U.S. GAAP financial results. Apple’s non-GAAP quarterly revenue and net profit were $11.7 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted, “As you can see, the non-GAAP financial results are truly stunning.”1 He explained the change in a rare appearance on the company’s earnings conference call later that day: I would like to . . . talk about the non-GAAP financial results, because I think this is a pretty big deal. In addition to reporting an outstanding quarter, today we are also introducing nonGAAP financial results, which eliminate the impact of subscription accounting. Because by its nature subscription accounting spreads the impact of iPhone’s contribution to Apple’s overall sales, gross margin, and net income over two years, it can make it more difficult for the average Apple manager or the average investor to evaluate the company’s overall performance. As long as our iPhone business was small relative to our Mac and music businesses, this didn’t really matter much, but the past quarter, as you heard, our iPhone business has grown to about $4.6 billion, or 39% of Apple’s total business, clearly too big for Apple management or investors to ignore. 2 Jobs also noted that in terms of non-GAAP mobile-phone revenue, in just 15 months Apple had become the world’s third-largest phone manufacturer behind Nokia and Samsung but ahead of Sony Ericsson, LG, Motorola, and RIM. Company Background Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II. In 1984, the Apple Macintosh, with its ease-of-use and brilliant design, redefined the personal computer. Shortly thereafter, Jobs left the company, returning in 1997. Under Jobs, Apple catalyzed the digital-media industry with the launch of its iPod portable musical player in October 2001, followed by the introduction of its iTunes online store in April 2003. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Professors Francois Brochet and Krishna G. Palepu and Research Associate Lauren Barley prepared this case. This case was developed from published sources. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsement s, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2011, 2013 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-5457685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu/educators. This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School. This document is authorized for use only by Ao Zhou in [ACCT7102] Financial Accounting (St Lucia). Semester 1, 2018 at University of Queensland Business School, 2018. 111-003 Accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc. In June 2007, the company entered the highly competitive mobile-phone market with its iPhone, the first smartphone (a combination of a phone and a mini-computer) with a touch-screen interface and the company’s new mobile operating system, iOS. Several months later, Apple released the iPod touch (an iPhone without the phone capability). Apple released its iPhone 3G in July 2008 along with its second-generation mobile operating system (iOS 2). Also in July 2008, Apple introduced its App Store, which offered iPhone and iPod touch users a wide variety of mobile applications ranging from games to social networking to productivity tools, mostly priced under $10. On July 14, 2008, Jobs noted, “The App Store is a grand slam, with a staggering 10 million applications downloaded in just three days. Developers have created some extraordinary applications, and the App Store can wirelessly deliver them to every iPhone and iPod touch user instantly.” 3 Many of the applications took advantage of the more robust iOS 2. By October 2008, Apple was best known for its technical and design innovation, its “walled garden” approach (i.e., its mostly proprietary ecosystem of hardware, operating and application software, and peripherals), and its premium-priced products. iPhone Business Model The original iPhone 8GB model had a U.S. retail price of $399 and was available through Apple and AT&T, the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. mobile carrier. In the U.S., mobile carriers typically provided subsidies to phone manufacturers, which lowered the purchase price of the new phone. In exchange, most consumers signed a two-year service contract with the carriers. Apple and AT&T agreed to a different arrangement, but did not disclose its specifics. AT&T did not subsidize the iPhone; instead, Apple signed a revenue-sharing agreement with AT&T that gave Apple a share of the subscribers’ monthly service fees. Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf believed that AT&T paid Apple $10 per month over a typical two-year contract.4 In addition, although Apple did not disclose how much it sold the iPhone for to AT&T, analysts believed that Apple made an estimated $120 in gross profit on every iPhone sold.5 At the iPhone’s launch, Apple announced it might periodically offer new software updates and upgrades free of charge to its iPhone customers. In contrast, Mac and iPod users did not receive free software features and upgrades. For example, users were charged $129 to upgrade to the new Mac operating system (Mac OS X Leopard) in October 2007, whereas Apple planned to provide newer versions of the iPhone operating system free of charge to all iPhone users. Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer explained, “Since iPhone customers will likely be our best advocates for the product, we want to get them many of these new features and applications at no additional charge as they become available.”6 In addition, Apple’s management knew that smartphone users were slow to update their software, and that few opted to buy upgrades. Therefore, the company believed it was necessary to offer new software features free of charge to increase user acceptance. In contrast, most other mobile software vendors reserved new software updates for new hardware (i.e., phone) releases.7 Apple, AT&T, third-party application developers, and users would all benefit from consumers’ use of the latest operating system and applications, giving Apple and its ecosystem a competitive advantage. AT&T would run a more effective and efficient mobile network; third-party software developers would have a stable hardware and software roadmap; Apple could delist applications from its App Store that weren’t written for its latest operating system; and all the while, iPhone users would benefit from an evolving and differentiated set of features and functionality. Many users of 2 This document is authorized for use only by Ao Zhou in [ACCT7102] Financial Accounting (St Lucia). Semester 1, 2018 at University of Queensland Business School, 2018. Accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc. 111-003 competing mobile-phone platforms could not upgrade to newer operating systems and applications because of compatibility issues with their phones. When Apple launched the iPhone 3G in July 2008, it revamped its business model, bringing it more in line with industry practices. Apple gave up its share of the monthly service revenue in exchange for AT&T subsidizing the price of the iPhone 3G, which sold for $199 at retail. Again, the two parties chose not to disclose the specifics of their arrangement, but the subsidy was estimated at $300 per phone sold.8 Apple continued to differ from most other industry participants when it offered existing iPhone users upgrades to its second-generation operating system at no cost. By August 2008, a month after Apple introduced its App Store, Jobs noted that users downloaded more than 60 million programs for the iPhone, and Apple was averaging $1 million a day in application-software revenue. Apple received 30% of the App Store revenue from the sale of an iPhone application, and the developer received the remaining 70%.9 Jobs stated, “Phone differentiation used to be about radios and antennas and things like that. We think, going forward, the phone of the future will be differentiated by software.”10 Also in August 2008, the New York Times reported that T-Mobile would be the first carrier to launch mobile phones using Google’s Android mobile operating system; the phones were expected to hit shelves in late October 2008. On October 21, 2008, Google announced that Android was now “the first free, open source, and fully customizable mobile platform.”11 iPhone Revenue Recognition Software-enabled hardware devices (also known as “bundled components”), such as Apple’s iPhone, Macs, and iPods, fell under the software revenue recognition rules pursuant to American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Statement of Position (SOP) No. 97-2, Software Revenue Recognition. When Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007, the company announced it would use the “subscription method of accounting” under SOP No. 97-2 to book revenue for its new iPhone. Oppenheimer explained: Since we will be periodically providing new software features to iPhone customers free of charge, we will use subscription accounting and recognize the revenue and product cost of goods sold associated with iPhone handset sales on a straight line basis over 24 months. So while the cash from iPhone sales will be collected at the time of sale, we will be recording deferred revenue and costs of goods sold on our balance sheet, and amortizing both of them into our earnings on a straight line basis over 24 months. We will continue to expense our iPhone engineering, sales, and marketing costs as we incur them. This accounting policy will have no impact on cash flow or the economics of our business.12 In contrast, Apple generally recognized revenue and cost of sales for its other software-enabled hardware products such as Macs and iPods at the time of sale (i.e., immediate revenue recognition) under SOP No. 97-2. This was because the company did not provide new features or software applications for those products free of charge. (See Exhibit 2 for the FY 2008 financial statement note relating to Apple’s revenue recognition policies under GAAP.) Apple’s decision to use subscription accounting for the iPhone came soon after the company faced consumer backlash over a $5 upgrade fee (later reduced to $1.99) it charged new MacBook buyers. 13 In 2006, Apple sold its latest MacBook with a wireless chip that would allow users to access the new and better Wi-Fi 802.11n technology once it became available and the chip was activated with 3 This document is authorized for use only by Ao Zhou in [ACCT7102] Financial Accounting (St Lucia). Semester 1, 2018 at University of Queensland Business School, 2018. 111-003 Accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc. software. Apple did not tell MacBook buyers about the chip’s existence, and it also recognized all revenue at the time the MacBooks sold. Thus, the chip and its activation software were an unspecified, future upgrade that did not have an established, objective, separate value (which would have allowed it to be accounted for separately) at the time of the MacBook sale. To comply with GAAP, Apple faced two options: 1) restate its financials to recognize the MacBook revenue under subscription accounting, or 2) charge users for the upgrade. The company chose the latter option. Technology companies such as Apple were increasingly facing the issue of how to account for bundled components as the software and hardware in these products became more integrated and integral to the products’ function. This placed U.S. technology companies on unequal footing with their overseas competitors because International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) allowed companies to use a more subjective measure—cost plus margin—when an objective and separate value could not be established for a future deliverable such as a free software upgrade. Consequently, an overseas company could report more than a fraction of its revenue when it sold a bundled component with the promise of a future deliverable such as a free upgrade. Company management could estimate the cost and the margin of the upgrade and defer just that portion of the bundled component’s sale until the upgrade was delivered.14 Subscription Accounting The software and magazine publishing industries were well known for their use of subscription accounting. Magazine publishers reported the cash received for a subscription at the time that the subscription was purchased, but recorded the revenue only as each issue was delivered. The remaining balance was deferred into a liability account called unearned (or deferred) revenue. For example, if a year’s subscription of a monthly magazine cost $12, then the magazine publisher would recognize $1 per month in revenue for 12 months as the unearned revenue account decreased by $1 per month. Under subscription accounting, Apple recognized the associated revenue and cost of goods sold for the iPhone on a straight-line basis over the product’s estimated 24-month economic life (the typical length of a mobile phone service contract). When Apple announced its quarterly results from iPhone sales, its reported revenues (and other related metrics) reflected only an eighth of the revenue from iPhone sales during that quarter. This resulted in a deferral of the remaining revenue and cost of sales relating to iPhones units sold, although the company received and reported the cash in the quarter of the sale. Each quarter, Apple also reported a share of iPhone sales (both the revenue and the associated cost of goods sold) for iPhones sold in previous quarters. (See Exhibit 3 for an illustration of iPhone subscription accounting.) As long as the number of iPhone sales increased each quarter, the deferral balance increased. Costs incurred for engineering, sales, marketing, and warranty were expensed as incurred. Reactions In July 2008, iPhone users validated Apple’s decision to offer free upgrades when they quickly adopted the free iOS 2. Apple never intended to give iPod touch users upgrades at no charge, and its users expressed confusion and dissatisfaction with their $9.95 upgrade fee for the same software. 15 At the same time, Apple’s use of subscription accounting drew mixed reviews from the business community. A Business Finance article praised Apple’s “smoother revenue curve” that resulted from its use of subscription accounting, saying, “Apple shows how a mature, astute organization can use revenue accounting rules to its benefit.” 16 However, an Apple 2.0 Fortune Tech post stated: 4 This document is authorized for use only by Ao Zhou in [ACCT7102] Financial Accounting (St Lucia). Semester 1, 2018 at University of Queensland Business School, 2018. Accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc. 111-003 More than seven months have passed [since Apple’s use of subscription accounting began] and nobody—not the analysts, not the investors, and certainly not Wall Street—has quite wrapped their mind around what this bookkeeping oddity means for Apple's bottom line. That’s in part because it’s complicated, and in part because Apple hasn’t provided all the data you would need to fully assess its impact. But those so-called deferred earnings are adding up, and some professional Apple watchers are starting to realize that their impact could be substantial …. And to the dismay of Apple shareholders, the fact that these deferred earnings are piling up seems to have gone right over the heads of the institutional investors who have driven Apple shares down nearly 75 points since December.17 [See Exhibit 4 for quarterly deferred earning balances.] Non-GAAP Supplements By the fourth quarter of 2008, Apple’s management believed the impact of subscription accounting on its financials was too big for the company to ignore. Apple released select Q4 of FY 2008 non-GAAP financial results as supplements that gave Apple watchers their first look at its revenue numbers without the use of subscription accounting. Research suggested that companies issued non-GAAP supplementary disclosures to communicate adjusted accounting numbers that better predicted future performance, but also for opportunistic reasons.18 On average, investors appeared to weight non-GAAP numbers more heavily compared to GAAP numbers when they formed their expectations for future earnings, assuming they found the non-GAAP numbers informative and credible. Not surprisingly, research also showed that companies tended to emphasize measures that portrayed the most favorable performance. 19 In 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued new non-GAAP disclosure rules to address concerns about the lack of oversight on these disclosures. The SEC’s Regulation G required companies that disclosed non-GAAP financial measures to use the most comparable GAAP measures when preparing their non-GAAP disclosures, in addition to providing a reconciliation of the GAAP and non-GAAP results.20 Recent studies indicated that since the passage of Regulation G, firms were less likely to provide non-GAAP earnings that excluded expenses of a recurring nature. 21 In describing Apple’s non-GAAP financials, Jobs noted that iPhone non-GAAP sales were a staggering $4.6 billion, 39% of Apple’s total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008. See Table A. Table A Q4 2008 Total Sales Total Income iPhone Sales iPhone as % of Sales Source: GAAP ($ billions) Non-GAAP ($ billions) $7.9 $11.7 48% 1.1 2.4 115% 0.8 4.6 475% 10% 39% % Increase Casewriter. 5 This document is authorized for use only by Ao Zhou in [ACCT7102] Financial Accounting (St Lucia). Semester 1, 2018 at University of Queensland Business School, 2018. 111-003 Accounting for the iPhone at Apple Inc. Apple cautioned that its non-GAAP calculations did not adjust for the estimated costs associated with its plan to provide new features and software upgrades to iPhone buyers free of charge. It also warned investors that these figures were not prepared under a comprehensive set of rules or principles, since no standards existed for making these calculations. (See Exhibit 5 for Apple’s cautions on use of its non-GAAP supplements.) Apple also announced iPhone Q4 of FY 2008 GAAP sales that just missed Wall Street’s estimates, but total income that easily beat analysts’ estimates.22 Apple’s guidance for the first quarter of FY 2009 was well below Wall Street’s forecast. Apple’s stock closed down for the day. Conclusion The immediate analyst reaction to Apple’s Q4 of FY 2008 financial results and conservative Q1 of FY 2009 guidance was largely positive, although Maynard Um of UBS downgraded his rating from “Buy” to “Neutral” and cut his share price target to $115 (from $125), citing “potential macroeconomic issues impacting Mac sales.”23 In contrast, Shebly Seyrafi of Calyon Securities raised his rating from “Add” to “Buy” and increased his price target to $150 (from $130), noting that Apple’s earnings per share (EPS) would have more than doubled had it not been for the company’s use of subscription accounting for iPhone sale ...
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Tutor Answer

Aussiemathematician
School: University of Virginia

Hello. I have uploaded the draft of the assignment together with the report. Kindly have a look

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Question 1
(a) Explain how Apple was required to account for this transaction in its financial state
ments in accordance with US GAAP in place at the time the case study was written.
Financial reporting in business organizations is usually based on the Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the relevant international financial accounting standards.
Through the use of this principles and elements, the global bodies managing the accounting
profession seek to harmonize the financial reports firms and achieve universality. However, the
application of these requirements may be difficult for other corporations such as Apple
Corporation and other information technology firms. Businesses conducted by these companies
make the revenue recognition by the firms a bit complex. This calls for firms such as apple to
change their financial reporting principles and specifically the principle on revenue recognition.
However, the firms through its changed accounting systems should ensure that its financial
reporting is based on fair value accounting (Walton, Pg. 15).
Since the introduction of the apple iPhone, the product has enhanced the success of the
firm. The product drives the sales of the firm in the global markets and continues to perform
well. This means that the revenue streams of the company are significantly growing. However,
since the launch of apple iPhone, its sales contribution to the company cannot be accurately

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established because of its continuous nature of sales. This poses a revenue bomb on the part of
the firm when it comes to financial reporting and concerns on the part of shareholders when it
comes to the need to fully account for the iPhone sales. The revenue recognition by the firm is
based on the GAAP accounting whereby the firm recognizes revenue from the sale of products
such as the iPhone after it has reached their end users. This scenario forces the firm to use the
subscription accounting method when recognizing revenue from the sale of iPhones. This
accounting method requires that the firm to literally divide each iPhone sale into several portions
and recognize them separately every day for a period of two years. This has many implications
op financial reporting since financial standards require companies to report quarterly and yearly
(Walton, Pg. 23).
According to the US GAAP Apple Inc is supposed to recognize revenue from the sale of
iPhone products when such revenue has been earned or realized. According to the US GAAP
revenue is realized when it is clear that its future economic benefits will flow to the report...

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Anonymous
Thanks, good work

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