The Macalope Daily: If at first you don't succeed, fail, fail again

Let’s say you write something and it turns out to be wrong. Wait, not just “wrong.” More like “catastrophically wrong.” What do you do? Slink away, reevaluate your assumptions, and try to do better the next time? Not if you write for The Motley Fool! No, you just sit down and write the same dumb piece again, of course! What, are you new here?

Just under two months after postulating from her posterior about how the design of Apple’s new campus should be a warning sign to investors of imminent DOOM, Motley Fool contributor Cindy Johnson is running other early warning signs up a rubber flag pole (tip o’ the antlers to Lessien).

Apple’s earnings report vastly exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. But the stock is trading at a P/E ratio of less than 16, suggesting that many investors don’t believe a company with $100 billion in revenue can continue defying the law of large numbers. I think they’re right … and the early warning signs are there for those who look.

The fact that a core contingent of investors who buy conventional wisdom in bulk at Costco have continued to bet against Apple since Steve Jobs’s return should not be misconstrued as shrewdness. Particularly since Apple’s stock continues to go up. Like the 60 points it went up since the last time you wrote this column.

Who can forget AntennaGate?

Oh! Oh! The Macalope knows this one! People who have fully functioning iPhone 4s and never notice the problem?

Apple introduced MobileMe more than three years ago but still hasn’t gotten it right. iCloud should have been the next generation of MobileMe.

This may come as a shock, Cindy, but unlike you, some people don’t feel the need to keep trying the same thing in the face of failure. Apple knew MobileMe was a failure and, rightly, decided to start over.

Instead, Apple is “firing” its MobileMe customers next year.

If by “firing” you mean giving them a new service for free then, yes, firing them.

iCloud won’t offer several MobileMe features.

The ones it was terrible at and are available for free from better competing services. Those features.

That suggests that Apple realizes MobileMe is so troubled that it’s better off just starting over.

The words coming out of Steve Jobs’s mouth might also suggest that. The company’s not exactly hiding anything here, Cindy. If you felt the need to intuit that, then you really haven’t been paying attention.

Which, granted, was pretty obvious a whole column ago.

This isn’t only technology where Apple has faltered. The company has a well-deserved reputation for marketing savvy and great customer experiences. That makes its recently botched product-transition announcement on Final Cut Pro noteworthy. It’s a sign that the company’s culture and standards are slipping.

Translation: I have no idea what Apple’s corporate culture is like and, to me, “standards” just means adding features to stuff and never rethinking anything.

Having presented her evidence that 1 + 1 + 1 equals 3 trillion, it’s time for Johnson to throw down the smoke bomb that will cover her exit!

Apple’s stock probably has several more good years ahead of it.

All Apple has to do is falter sometime between now and when the sun burns out and Johnson can claim victory.

[golf clap] Bra-vo, Cindy.

But there are signs the company has started to lose its way under the weight of rapid growth.

If there are, you haven’t presented them. All you’ve done is shown a smattering of issues that any company the size of Apple is bound to experience. Before you go rushing out to be the first one to have called Apple’s demise, you might want to make sure your oversized clown shoes are tied.

(Disclaimer: the Macalope holds an insignificant number of Apple shares.)

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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