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FASB Does Apple a Giant Solid

Apple-II.jpgEditor’s note: Adrienne Gonzalez is founder and managing editor of Jr Deputy Accountant. You can see all of her posts for GC by going here. By day, she teaches unlicensed accountants to pass the CPA exam, though what she does in her copious amounts of freetime in the evening is really none of your business. Follow her adventures in Fedbashing and CPA-wrangling on Twitter @adrigonzo but please don’t show up unannounced at her San Francisco office as she’s got a mean streak. Her favorite FASB is 166.
Holy crap, wait a minute, is FASB trying to do something useful?
If you’re the sort of person annoyed by having to pay for software updates for your iPod, then perhaps. As with anything FASB does, intention and practical application are always two distinct and not necessarily related items. It remains to be seen whether or not this frees Apple of the strange accounting noose critics of the FASB rule claim has stifled sales.
Continued, after the jump

If you’ve ever been irked at the small charges you’ve had to pay for an iPod touch software upgrade, this may be about to go by the wayside. According to Ars Technica, a rule governed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, that’s been heavily lobbied for by Apple and other electronics companies, may be enough to lift the charge that iPod touch owners have had to pay for updates of significant features to their devices. The rule focuses on “subscription accounting”, or devices that gain “significant new functionality” after their sale, like the iPhone, have to be reported over a series of years rather than all at the same time (presumably because the revenues associated with the product were the result of a series of updates, not just one lump sum).

Those same critics (or the financial reporting nerds, we’re not sure) claim that Apple has technically been underreporting its iPhone earnings as a result of this rule, a reversal of which would fortify Apple’s balance sheet of steel. That’s great for Apple, I suppose.
The rule is as yet in comment draft form, so go nerd on over to FASB and tell them what you think.
Does this mean billions in iPhone revenues will have to be restated going back to 2008? Rub it in, why don’t you?
This is where it gets really magical.
Stefan Sidahmed via Seeking Alpha:

The projected EPS really shows the true impact of the iPhone on Apple’s earnings. The FY10 EPS of $16.80 includes $4.02 in deferred income, so the ‘real’ EPS would be $12.78, more than double FY09 projected GAAP earnings. Likewise, the FY11 EPS contains $1.92 of deferred EPS. This should not be interpreted as Apple doubling their EPS, but rather that their current EPS is artificially suppressed by subscription accounting.

Good news for them and maybe FASB has at last done some good. Guess we’ll see when the deferred earnings run out.