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Analysts fear Apple's new report of even more red ink may hurt sales

Apple Computer Inc. didn't surprise anyone with another report of red ink, but its latest quarterly loss was worse than expected, and analysts worried about a drop in sales during a traditionally brisk season.

The company said Wednesday that it lost $161 million, or $1.26 a share, for the July-September period, its fourth fiscal quarter. Apple had a profit of $25 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same period of last year.Revenue fell 30 percent to $1.6 billion from $2.3 billion in the same quarter a year ago. It's during the just-ended period that Apple normally makes the bulk of its sales to the schools, one of its most important markets.

"For them to be down during the quarter is quite telling. This is supposed to be their big quarter," said Kevin Hause, an analyst with International Data Corp. in Mountain View, Calif.