The Macalope Daily: Ask a SME

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Those of you who have never toiled away in corporate IT under the iron fist of The Man™ might be wondering what the heck a SME is. But a SME—pronounced “smee”—is (purportedly) a “subject matter expert.”

The Macalope, for example—because he has long followed the company and has a fairly deep knowledge of its history, products, and markets—would be considered a subject matter expert on Apple.

Also, he has a head shaped like a Classic Mac. That helps.

And where to go to find a SME but SMEWeb, “the UK’s online resource for SMEs,” where you can read the following “expert” analysis:

“iPad and iPhone maker Apple Inc struggles in emerging markets” (tip o’ the antlers to Wingsy).

Announcing a rare miss of analysts’ overall revenues and earnings forecasts, Apple said revenue in Greater China slid 28 per cent to $5.7bn…


…in the three months to June 30 compared with the preceding quarter.

Oh, brother. The old “quarter to quarter” slide. The Macalope always wonders if the people who like to make a big deal out of sequential quarter changes are really that thick or just that desperate for something to write about.

See, there’s this little thing called “cyclicality” that these people seem to not have heard of. Ready for the other shoe? Because here it comes:

Although Chinese sales were still 48 per cent up from the same period last year, with iPhone sales doubling year on year…

Thaaaat’s right. Sales were actually up for Apple in China by 48 percent. Which, by any normal reckoning is ♫ faaaaaabulous ♫, but in the fantasy world of SMEs, that’s some kind of fail because something something trend lines something something childhood head trauma something something something.

The horny one isn’t sure who wrote this piece on SMEWeb since it’s not signed, but he can tell they’re not a subject matter expert on Apple. And being more concerned about quarter-over-quarter trends than year-over-year trends tells him they’re also not a subject matter expert on stocks. But maybe the person is a SME on something else. Like pudding. Or soup.

…the dip has scratched the shiny surface of a seemingly invincible brand…


…and raised questions about how well Apple is doing in its most important emerging markets.

Actual answer: pretty well. As Tim Cook noted in Apple’s quarterly conference call, the company launched the iPhone 4S in China the previous quarter. It’s fairly reasonable to expect a drop-off after launch.

The Macalope knows that “reasonable analysis” is not what’s going on here, he just feels the need to point that out. It’s kind of like a tic.

Some observers believe that the Chinese addiction to Apple products is fading…

48 percent year-over-year growth = fading.

It seems SMEWeb has the “subject matter” part down, just not so much the “expert” part.

[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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