Professor, teach thyself: Misunderstanding Apple’s business

Macalope

Today the Macalope brings some good news for certain students of higher education out there: If you have this one professor it’s totally OK to sleep in and miss class. Actually, you’ll learn more that way.

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and all-you-can-eat animal lips and snouts buffet, Andrew Cave asks:

“Will Apple Go From Darling To Dud?” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)

Just askin’! No harm in asking, right?

That’s the mantra of modern online “journalism”. You can say literally anything completely bananas as long as you phrase it as a question.

“Is a diet of nothing but cigarette butts actually healthy for you?”

Just askin’!

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has probably got used to a negative part of a positive announcement causing the stock to slump.

Yet the reaction to the company posting the largest quarterly profits in American history may have surprised even him.

The Macalope’s pretty sure Cook is used to the whackadoodle responses to Apple’s announcements by now. Basically whenever Apple announces anything or there’s a rumor or an analyst report or a horoscope that says “Pisces should avoid eating apples today”, a slide whistle sounds on Wall Street and investors sell Apple shares to buy more safety scissors so they don’t poke their eyes out when running with them.

They cannot stop running with scissors, however. That’s off the table. It is their moral imperative.

It was the stock’s biggest fall in two years.

And Apple has since regained about half of it. But we don’t talk about that. We must never speak of it. The fact that Apple’s stock price sometimes climbs is the dirty secret that Wall Street dare never tell.

Professor Andre Spicer of London’s Cass Business School is concerned.

Did he forget to turn the stove off?

“Apple may have had the largest quarterly profits in history but it could go from darling to dud within a few years,” he says.

“Much the same as any of us. All glory is fleeting. Soon we die.” Spicer stared wistfully out the window. It began to rain.

Sorry, thought we were writing emo fiction.

“This happened to Nokia before…”

Because Nokia didn’t see the freight train that was the modern smartphone as defined by the iPhone coming down the rails, despite the flashing lights, the rumbling in the ground, the deafening sound of the whistle and the people waving their arms and yelling “Train! TRAIN! GET OFF THE TRACKS!”

Apple’s problem is not that someone’s starting to eat their lunch, it’s that the smartphone market is becoming saturated. If you’re going to come up with a jerky example, at least come up with one that makes sense. Microsoft at the height of the PC market is closer to the mark, although Microsoft didn’t take two thirds of the profit.

“As smartphones increasingly become undifferentiated commodities, people will start asking why they are paying such a huge premium and Apple could find itself trapped by what it is good at.”

ATTENTION STUDENT OF THE CASS BUSINESS SCHOOL. IF YOU ARE TAKING A COURSE FROM PROFESSOR ANDRE SPICER, DROP IT IMMEDIATELY IN FAVOR OF A BETTER USE OF THREE HOURS A WEEK, SUCH AS WATCHING A HOUSE PLANT GROW.

Professor Spicer. Apple does not make commodity products. That is how it commands a premium. If your assertion were true, then how could it still be selling Macs?

“Now Apple is trying to make up for flat sales of its core product by moving into other markets like healthcare, financial services and cars.

“The big hurdle it will face is these are very different industries – they are tightly regulated, filled with many large, well-established players and are extremely complex.”

The cell phone business is unregulated and Nokia was neither large nor well-established. These are facts you can learn at the Cass Business School.

And from there you can go directly to being a Wall Street analyst.

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