The things that turn up on sidewalk sales: eMac, sighted this afternoon in University Heights while walking down Maryland Ave. to Trader Joe’s. Timing is coincidentally comical, as Apple discontinued the educational iMac wannabe nine […]
The measure of Apple fiscal first quarter 2017 isn’t record revenues ($78.35 billion) but comparison to major competitors: More than three times Google ($26.06 billion) or Microsoft ($24.1 billion). Amazon announces tomorrow, Groundhog Day. Will the retailer’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, see his shadow? The 3x multiplier nearly applies to net income: $17.89 billion, versus $6.64 billion and $5.2 billion, respectively, for the two rivals. Looked at differently, compared to Apple’s same quarter in fiscal 2010, seven years later, profits exceed total revenues ($15.68 billion). That’s an astounding comparison.
The results defy pundits’ prognostications, including my own, about gravity pulling the company back to Earth. iPhone, as major source of revenue, can only stay up for so long, before slowing smartphone sales wreck havoc. That said, credit where it’s due: CEO Tim Cook is, as I’ve asserted before, a logistics and manufacturing genius. He is a strategist, but not an innovation leader like predecessor Steve Jobs. Cook masterfully manages his inheritance, but he, nor Apple observers, should get lost in the quarter’s glow: iPhone remains boon and bane.
Two days before Apple’s next media event, where long-overdue new laptops presumably arrive, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant released fiscal fourth quarter and closed full-year 2016. You could feel the anticipation after the Bell closed on Wall Street today—and, honestly, it had been palpable for weeks. Shares closed $118.25, up .51 percent. As I post, they’re down about 3 percent, after hours.
The drama is a TV thriller: Release of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus set against a backdrop of saturated global smartphone sales; launch of Apple Watch Series 2 into an already declining market for smart timepieces; analyst data showing calendar third quarter to again be bad for PC shipments—with even Macs losing momentum. So everyone wants to know: What was the quarter’s financial crop?
After the closing bell today, Apple announced results for fiscal third quarter, which largely is congruent with calendar Q2 (End date, April 27). Broadly: $49.6 billion in sales, $10.7 billion net income, and $1.85 earnings per share. Year over year, revenue rose 33 percent and EPS by 45 percent. Apple guidance before the big reveal: Between $46 billion and $48 billion revenue. Wall Street consensus was $49.31 billion sales and $1.81 EPS. The Street’s estimates ranged from $46.9 billion to $53.64 billion.
Gross margin reached 39.7 percent compared to 39.4 percent annually and 40.8 percent sequentially. Company guidance: 38.5 percent to 39.5 percent. Once again, international sales accounted for most of the quarter’s sales: 64 percent, which is up from 59 percent the previous year but down from 69 percent three months earlier.
My website captures so few comments that I consider turning them off. There is engagement around posts, but the extended storytelling typically takes place somewhere else—primarily on social networks. The interaction, while valuable, provides no context here, where it belongs.
I don’t know where Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or any other social network will be five or 10 years from now. A decade ago, MySpace sizzled with popularity. Now it’s a ghost town. So I feel compelled, and disturbed for the need, to post some comment interactions that take place elsewhere—particularly those where my responses are lengthy.
On May 15, 2001, while previewing the first Apple Store to analysts and journalists, then CEO Steve Jobs boasted: “Apple has about 5 percent market share today”, but the remainder “don’t even consider us”. Jobs exaggerated, and not for the first time, seeing as how Mac global share was more like 2 percent.
But the ambition, to use the retail shops to “double our market share”, was achievable. Three years following his death, with 10-percent long ago reached in the United States, something more startling occurred: During calendar Q3 2014, Apple moved into fifth place for global PC shipments, according to IDC. The question is why.
Macintosh is 30 years old. If this were “Logan’s Run“, January 24 would be Last Day. Or the 1960s, time to ditch the computer because, you know, don’t trust anyone (or anything) over 30. Declaration: I am a Mac user, which surely surprises the long line of people accusing me of being anti-Apple. My Mac sojourn started on a Winter’s day in December 1998. I’ve abandoned Apple a few times since, even briefly boycotting, but always come back.
My first Macintosh sighting was August 1984. I spent the summer in Chapel Hill, N.C. and often hung out on the University of North Carolina campus. The college book store displayed the Apple, which I found remarkable. I wasn’t a computer geek, nor am I one now, but nevertheless found the device charming. A decade later, I started using a Windows PC and for a while was a Macintosh bigot. I particularly enjoyed ribbing the graphic designers with whom my wife worked when their Macs crashed, wiping out hours of Photoshop or QuarkXpress work. “Get a PC!” was my common retort.
To Apple purists, documentary “Welcome to Macintosh” is surely nothing new. But to little `ol Joe, flipping channels on a Friday night, the documentary was a surprise airing on CNBC. By far, former Apple development engineer Jim Reekes gave the most acerbic commentary about the company—not so much what he said but how he said it.
Some people will call me a cruel husband for the story that I’m about to tell. You can call me cruel, just don’t call the police about domestic violence. Friday night, I moved my wife from a Mac laptop to a Sony VAIO running Windows 7 Release Candidate. She didn’t switch willingly, although she is adjusting.
Nearly two weeks has passed since Apple released Boot Camp, and I’ve said absolutely nothing on my personal blog about the software. The reason: I would never run Windows on a Mac that I own.
Boot Camp makes sense for people who think they might need Windows or have actual, occasional need. The software answers the question, “What if I need Windows?” But that’s a psychological more than real concern for most, potential Mac switchers. I’m convinced that most people thinking they might need Windows won’t. I know people who can’t throw away stuff, even if they haven’t used it for years, because of the “What if I need it” question. The barrier, while psychological, is real.
The New Year started with my full-time return to Windows, so that I could test Windows Vista and Office 2007. This evening, after many days’ deliberations, I picked up a MacBook Pro from my local Apple Store. I will continue Windows Vista and Office 2007 testing, but no longer use Microsoft’s operating system on a full-time basis.
In typical fashion, I managed about two months on Windows before retreating back to the Mac. Reasons are same as always. My resolution to go back to Windows and stay there is a shambles. But that’s a good resolution to have broken.