A bad quarter for Apple: Is a great one for anyone else


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Apple’s most recent quarterly results were less than spectacular but, while that’s probably better news for its competitors than its usual continual record-setting, don’t schedule the victory parade yet.

Writing for the Forbes contributor network and candy cane freebasing den, Ewan Spence says “A Weakened Apple Is Vulnerable To Samsung's Attack.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)


[The Macalope runs to the window]

Macalope: You, there! What year is it?!

Boy: ’Tis 2016, sir!

Macalope: And people are still saying Samsung is going to beat Apple?!

Boy: [Shrugs, wanders off to buy a goose.]

…Samsung is on a roll. Momentum is building…

Samsung’s year-over-year growth? Down 0.6 percent.

That’s some roll. Is that a potato roll? Poppy seed? Dinner roll? California roll? Salmon skin hand roll? Because it’s seemingly not a business roll.

Hey, they did do better than Apple. But the smartphone market has gone flat. Now it’s mostly a game of stealing share from others. Samsung has high customer satisfaction but so does Apple and Apple’s share is famously low, so it has more room to grow. Ben Bajarin at least thinks Apple has an edge. We’ll see. The Macalope doesn’t like to make predictions about things that have more moving parts than the Game of Thrones title sequence.

Remember how Xiaomi was highly touted as the company that was going to dethrone Apple because their phones were so cheap and if there’s one thing that Apple customers want it’s cheap phones? That was a good one. Remember how even Lenovo was going to crush it after buying Motorola from Google because… uh, mumble, mumble, look out Apple? Yeah, now they’re both no longer in the top five.

More importantly, Samsung’s ascendancy is kicking in just as Apple hits one of its roughest patches of the decade.

It is a rough patch, to be sure. For Apple. For any other company it’s a kittens and puppies surprise birthday cake delivered by a dozen adorable talking wombats when it isn’t even your birthday. Why, you’d have to go all the way back to 2014 to find a first calendar quarter so bad for Apple.

While the raw numbers are a concern, the bigger risk for Apple is the damage to the perception of the iPhone brand…

Yeah, people really think iPhones are crap now.

The move to larger screened devices ignored a product cycle of iPhone 5, 5C and 5S users refusing to upgrade - and now the four-inch iPhone SE has arrived it’s cannibalizing sales of the larger and more expensive devices in the portfolio.

Wow, the Macalope is so old he remembers when pundits said everyone wanted big phone because big phones are big and big is always better.

Pundits like Ewan Spence who said last September before the introduction of the iPhone 6s:

The potential for the iPhone is greater now than it has ever been.

Now what does he think?

Every [Apple] product line has a black mark against it in the media…

And this is different from any other year how, exactly? Every single product Apple has announced has come pre-failed by the media.

…the game isn’t always about reality, it’s about perception.

And, rest assured, Forbes will always be there to not help clear up the difference between the two.

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