The Channel logo

back to article Sorry, Apple-haters, but Cupertinian doom not on the horizon

As these words are being typed, Apple's stock is taking a beating, down around 10 per cent from its $514.01 Wednesday close, in reaction to what Wall Street has clearly characterized as disappointing financial results for the first quarter of Apple's 2013 fiscal year. May your humble Reg reporter take this opportunity to point …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Alert

Mac sales decline is the problem

No matter how many gazillions of shiny iToys the company sells, the vast majority are still being hooked up to Wintel machines. Declining desktop/laptop market share and declining profit margins on the iToys are exactly what Apple should be most concerned about. Phone and tablet markets are far too volatile for such a large company to peg its future on, and Apple has done too little to build up the Mac as a ubiquitous general computing hub that would have assured their long term success. They should have made lower-cost machines available, and allowed OSX to be installed as a Windows replacement on x86 machines in order to dominate the desktop and laptop market when they had the chance.

As it stands, they seem to be following the path of Palm, RIM, and Sony in trying too hard to ultra-specialize in expensive gadgets. Already there are better phones and tablets on the market than what Apple offers for a lower or similar price - won't be long until quarterly sales of those toys fall just like the iPod is already.

13
17
Facepalm

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

As much as I lament the de-emphasis of the Mac I can't help but notice their market share is still increasing against competitors (unlike you claim) but all computers that aren't phones or tablets are taking a hit.

I'd say the market at this point is Samsung and Apple. Even Dell looks to be losing out in this market... I mean they are solid in the data center but even Dell cites declining home sales as an excuse for their quarterly issues. And honestly, weren't home sales pretty much not important once Commodore and Atari gave up?

14
1
Silver badge

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

@Mad Hacker - nope - Mac sales were down over 20% from the last quarter, while Windows 8 license sales are reportedly holding steady. The only truly "hot" item in the desktop/laptop marketplace appears to be the Chromebook.

6
15

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

"Phone and tablet markets are far too volatile for such a large company to peg its future on,"

Oh OK. I guess they should be pegging their future on a product category that's now more than a quarter of a century old, declining rapidly, which Apple makes barely 10% of it's revenues on and which no other company in the market can make money in.

Tim Cook will be ringing for more advice any second now.

14
1
FAIL

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

@Andy Prough

"and allowed OSX to be installed as a Windows replacement on x86 machines in order to dominate the desktop and laptop market when they had the chance"

And with that old, tired and incredibly stupid comment, you demolished your own credibility.

Apple uses its OS to sell Macs, on which it makes its money. A loss-leader in fact, and a great USP.

Microsoft (or 'Wintel' as you call them for some reason), make their money selling licenses for their OS on other people's hardware. They then make a huge amount of money selling software to run on that OS. It's Windows and Office licenses that keep Microsoft going, as most of the other things they do make very little or are huge loss-making black holes.

Why should Apple configure their OS to work successfully with the myriad of other computers, built by other people, for NO advantage? If they actually managed the feat (which in my opinion Microsoft has never achieved 100%) they would have had to indulge themselves in an on-going R&D effort that would cost billions. For NO advantage.

I'm sure some people have 'Market Share' tattooed on their todgers!

18
6
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

"Even the most rock-ribbed Apple-hater must grudgingly agree with Cook that those numbers are indeed impressive...Wall Street has clearly characterized as disappointing financial results..."

By the author's logic everyone on Wall Street must be an Apple-lover.

1
1
Facepalm

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

You think chromebooks are the hot thing now? What planet do live on because that's not reality for earth where most people realise chromebooks are shit.

8
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

Are you seriously trying to compare Windows 8 LICENSE (~ £40 - £100) sales with Mac COMPUTER (~£500 - £1500) sales?

2
0
Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

Wintel is the term for the domination of the desktop market by Windows and Intel. I remember hearing it in the early nineties.

3
0

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

Fair point; but on the other hand you haven't been actually able to buy a bloody iMac for most of the quarter, so I'm not surprised sales were dodgy.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

Except you miss that the new iMac only shipped in the last month of the quarter and Windows 8 sales 'holding steady' - would hope so for a brand new OS shipping on all the new machines.

Chromebook 'hot' maybe if you are a Google fanatic - wonder how their sales are doing vs even Windows 8?

1
1
Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

Apple is losing share compared to Google. Claiming they aren't is simply moronic.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Mac sales decline is the problem

So, do I understand correctly, that your claim is that Mac sales are declining and Mac market share is being eroded by some product Google sells?

If that is true, Bullseyed, then you are clearly demented, or at best living in a different reality.

The Chromebook eroding Mac sales? Get a life, or visit any institution of higher learning and see what the students are using.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Competition is good.

I would never buy an Apple product, because I like choice. If I see a better Android phone from a different company, I can buy that, secure in the knowledge that my existing Android apps will all port to it successfully. If I bought an iPhone however, I would have to keep buying iPhones, or throw away any apps that I had purchased for it. That scenario does not appeal to me.

Having said that, however, having Apple around is potentially good for competition. Assuming they can keep up, that is.

7
10

Re: Competition is good.

Android is open software but the hardware it is dominated by four or five major handset manufacturers, all of whom seem inherently conservative, unable to innovate without Google's help, and as a result none of whom seem to differentiate their products significantly.

Worse, the handset manufacturers seem to be using Android version upgrades as an excuse to shift new handsets, rather than adequately supporting their existing user base with timely, reliable updates. My Atrix was effectively "end-of-life'd" by Moto only a few months after I purchased it. Its replacement, a HTC, is stuffed with gimmicks and bloatware that cannot be uninstalled.

On that basis, I'm not convinced that the Android ecosystem for me long term. As an Apple desktop user, I will probably move to iOS. If I were a Windows user I'd definitely move to Windows Phone, dare I say probably a Nokia. I'll be interested to see if I am representative of the market over the next 12 months.

I agree that it is good for competition and I dearly hope that Apple will implement a more ICS-like notifications screen, and a proper 'services' hooks to allow inter-app sharing / integration like Android does so well.

9
5
Thumb Down

Re: Competition is good.

@Chris J

"Android is open software but the hardware it is dominated by four or five major handset manufacturers, all of whom seem inherently conservative, unable to innovate without Google's help, and as a result none of whom seem to differentiate their products significantly."

Well considering most manufactures ship with their own spin to android i reckon they different. HTC have sense, Samsung have their own.

"Android uses updates to shift new handsets"

They do in some cases wont argue with that, but doesn't windows? They just canned all their old windows mobiles and didn't upgrade them to the new platform. Then gave them windows 7.8....? Bit of a bummer for the old mobile users. Also apple and Siri? Not all phones could upgrade to Siri? Same thing. Also if your phone is deemed not fit for the new upgrade do it yourself. That the beauty of android, its open source. My Desire HD was cut off a year after i bought it. Didn't stop me upgrading to ICS and Jelly Bean.

"all of whom seem inherently conservative"

What features do these manufactures not offer that others do? I don't think at all they are conservative. And of course google are going to push the ideas out there they are the software designers...?

2
3
Pirate

Re: Competition is good.

"unable to innovate without Google's help, and as a result none of whom seem to differentiate their products significantly"

I'm not sure I agree with this. There is a lot of innovation going on in the hardware, it's just that the market (read: "consumers") have all decided that they like the candy-bar style with few physical buttons; a design that Apple helped to convince the majority is best.

You can't say that the Note and Note II weren't an innovation from what was around at the time. And the concept hardware that flies around every year is interesting, it's just that the manufacturers don't see enough interest to complete the R&D to market.

If anything, the complaint should be that none of them are willing to take a risk.

3
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Competition is good.

How quickly they forget... or much more likely: never even knew.

If only the fanboise apologists had been aware of the cool stuff companies like HTC and E-Ten already had on the market when Apple announced their plans for the jEsusphone to the devoted. How I laughed at the time... gosh, last year's glofiish with an incrementally improved touchscreen and all the cool stuff removed... coming next June... for twice the price! No thanks.

Of course, iTards, being rather insular technophobes, they had never heard of E-Ten, HTC, et al, so rushed out bought Apple's phone offering in droves.. and now they appear to be trying to rewrite history to exclude the things they were ignorant of. Some sort of mass-denial to conceal/excuse the mass-hysteria perhaps?

2
11
Bronze badge

Re: Competition is good.

"My Atrix was effectively "end-of-life'd" by Moto only a few months after I purchased it."

Probably shouldn't purchase end of life products then. Motorola has no control over when you choose to buy a product.

"Its replacement, a HTC, is stuffed with gimmicks and bloatware that cannot be uninstalled."

Ignoring the fact that you'd obviously not doing any research before buying phones, it can be easily uninstalled if you root your phone. The "bloatware" is installed by the carrier, not by the phone manufacturer. It is not HTC's fault that the carrier YOU selected puts crap on the phone.

There is a lengthy list of apps that cannot be removed from Apple products, and further you can't even delete the icon off your home screen.

1
2
Thumb Down

Re: Competition is good.

Google Android is a fraud just like Facebook, Youtube. That is new economy bull at work.

Companies using Linux cheat on customers. Giving no real support.

Android is a huge mess. Low quality OS. Low quality hardware. No real standard so any developer to create apps properly would need to buy 30 to 100 devices just to do some beta testing.

0
4

I'm sure that there will be plenty of people who see either the good or the bad in these results, depending on their prejudices.

However, for me the key points are:

1. The iPad mini is being sold at a lower margin than (e.g.) the iPad, which is a bit of a problem for those who would like a cheap iPhone: if they can't manage the margins on the lower-spec iPadMini, the outlook for a lower-spec iPhoneCheapo seems lower.

2. If the demand for the iPhone 4 products is still high, then that says not-so-good things about the iPhone 5.

3. Either their forecasting or their manufacturing processes need work, because there is no reason that product should be in short supply this long after launch UNLESS demand is enormously higher than anticipated, which (based on the numbers) it wasn't.

9
1
Facepalm

the lower-spec "iPhone Cheapo" *is* the "high demand" iPhone 4.

4
1
Silver badge

I agree with points one and two but as for three, there's an old trick of deliberately undersupplying the market when you've got it cornered (in this in the new shiny) to keep your cool/scarcity factor in place and justify the high asking price.

2
1
Silver badge

Cool/scarcity factor

I was talking with a reasonably tech-savvy friend the other day, and she was saying that she wants something that can be used as a tablet that can be docked to a proper keyboard for real work. She said she has tried the iPad, but " ... it doesn't feel nice, and everyone has one." She then went on to say that she is tempted by the Galaxy Tab, because, amongst other things, "... it is different". * I was amused then, but it may well be a real problem for Apple if that is a deeper feeling.

*This friend isn't much for style for styles' sake - after months of looking she is changing her mid-range Ford for a mid-range Vauxhall!

1
2
Silver badge

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

The iPhone 4 is free. That's why there is so much demand for it. iPhone 5 starts at $399. The demand curve has nothing to do with device itself, other than cost. There really aren't any huge innovations between 4 & 5 that aren't offset by the low cost (free) version except for the most die hard iFool.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Cool/scarcity factor

"it doesn't feel nice, and everyone has one."

Guess that's a good reason for wearing bright green jeans and everyone else wears blue.

2
1
Stop

"The iPad mini is being sold at a lower margin than (e.g.) the iPad,"

Just keep telling yourself that until you believe it. However you could do the math yourself: an iPad mini costs $300, a similar specced non-Apple tablet is half of that. So even if we assume that the non-Apple tablet is sold at cost (which you should also keep telling yourself), then Apple still has 50% margin. But of course the margin is higher than that.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

>The iPhone 4 is free. That's why there is so much demand for it.

Tis true, they can give them away - though it turns out nowhere near in the numbers they were predicting.....

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

The iPhone 4 is not 'free' - it's free after the phone company subsidises it but APPL are sure still making $$$'s on it - plus $$$'s when people buy apps and $$$'s when people buy an iPads to go with it and $$$'s when they buy apps for that as well and then an Apple TV box etc. etc.

Samsung sell you a phone then you belong to Google. Next time you may buy a Samsung but equally a Sony or HTC or ?? Samsung are in a much more precarious position.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

Only a total idiot would think it's free....

Realy, where do these people come from.

An iPhone is £600 to £840 depending on how much money your network is screwing you. £35/month for 2 years is typical (£840)

A SIM-Free Nexus4 on the other hand is £260 and £5 a month for a unlimited data, unlimited landline calls, and 100 other minutes contract with T-Mobile.

Who is the real idiot???? I can even afford to throw the Nexus4 in the bin in 12 months time and buy next years great Android, and still be quids in.....

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

It is free or it isn't free? You are talking all over yourself man. Slow down and vent your spleen in a rational way.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

Apple doesn't give phones away - operators do.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone 4 Demand

£5 a month for all that you are having a laugh - the cheapest on offer SIM the have was £10 with a paltry 250mb.

0
0
Bronze badge

Now if the stock will hurry up...

...and get back to $700/share we would ALL be nice and cozy. Still its hovering around $500 (+-) isn't bad for year over year price.

Yes, my wife DID buy an Iphone 4S about a year ago, and likes it very much! Me? I sometimes want to be away from all things connected at times, and just want a "phone" (nothing fancy). But that's just me.

So, go buy them Jesus Phones and fondleslabs!

0
0
Meh

Mac sales are still going up while PC sales are drooping. People can ignore that all they want, but its still there.

4
7
Silver badge
Boffin

Mac sales are down by a million units

@Dana W - Mac sales were down from 5.2 million units to 4.1 million for the quarter: http://www.forbes.com/sites/connieguglielmo/2013/01/23/apples-holiday-sales-q2-forecast-miss-estimates-shares-fall-live/

Regardless, that sales figure is anemic compared to Wintel, with Microsoft already selling in excess of 60 million Win 8 licenses in its first 10 weeks on the market. Mac had a chance to dominate the market the past few years, but I think that chance has passed them by. Windows and Chrome offer far superior cloud connected services for the desktop and laptop. Chromebook might be the platform that will ultimately challenge Windows, but at this point I don't think it will ever be Mac.

6
11
Silver badge

Re: Mac sales are down by a million units

It won't be Mac or Chromebook that challenges Windows. It'll be iOS and Android. If you consider a smartphone to be a "computer", they already outsell Windows. If you only count tablets, they'll likely outsell Windows in a few years. 2013 is already predicted to the year when tablets outsell laptops.

Some will complain that tablets (and especially smartphones) are consumption only devices, but the majority of PC users are data consumers not data producers. There are many people who only bought PCs to join the email & web revolution in the mid to late 90s, but they don't particularly need a PC - or certainly don't need more than one which many now have.

In addition, before long you'll be able to connect your iOS or Android phone to a TV/monitor, and combined with a bluetooth keyboard/mouse run a traditional non-touch desktop to allow stuff like writing long emails, typing in papers, organizing photos, etc. That's what will really damage Windows, and why Microsoft is frantically scrambling around trying to figure out a way to get more than a few token percentage points of share in the phone market.

The desktop GUI layer may look/act like OS X on iPhone and Chrome on Android, but since the hardware people are running it on won't be the desktop/laptop hardware Microsoft dominated for so long, their existing relationship with the OEMs will be meaningless. That's why they're willing to screw their poor OEMs over so overtly, by making a relationship with Nokia, releasing their own brand tablets, and now rumored to be buying a chunk of Dell.

11
2

Re: Mac sales are down by a million units

Doug, "before long" is "for most of the past year"...

While the pro-Apple lobby like to proclaim that companies like Samsung cannot innovate, companies like Samsung have been selling docks for their high-end handsets that deliver HDMI and USB outputs, supporting just the CONOPS you describe.

It may not be a common thing to do, yet, but I agree with you that it's a "watch this space" thing!

2
2
Silver badge

Re: Mac sales are down by a million units

Chromebook? The only place I've seen them is on the odd banner ad. As far as the real world is concerned, they might as well not exist.

Also, when you have problems getting stock into stores/warehouses, as Apple did with the iMacs, etc, sales going down is quite natural.

0
2
Bronze badge

Re: Mac sales are down by a million units

"It won't be Mac or Chromebook that challenges Windows. It'll be iOS and Android. If you consider a smartphone to be a "computer", they already outsell Windows. If you only count tablets, they'll likely outsell Windows in a few years. 2013 is already predicted to the year when tablets outsell laptops."

What is a "saturated market" and why have you never heard of one?

0
0
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Mac sales are down by a million units

@dougs - spot on...accurately summarized...

0
0
Silver badge

@Malcolm

While its true that Samsung (and other Android vendors) have come out with their own spin on this idea, it has been terribly implemented. Connecting a phone to an HDMI display and displaying the touchscreen interface on a large screen has very limited usefulness. It needs to present a proper desktop (OS X GUI on iOS, Chrome on Android being probably the best of lackluster Linux GUI possibilities) and be done by Google for Android as a whole, rather than only certain vendor/product combinations being able to do it.

It is nice that Samsung has tried to do this, but doing something poorly is not that much better than not doing it at all. When Apple does it, it will be pretty well polished and useful, and they will have a simple way for OS X apps to be able to run on it (cross compiled to ARM or something) There is already a ton of Linux apps that could work on the Chrome GUI, but some of them require a certain geek quotient to figure out. If Apple beats Goggle to the punch, Android fans will scream they are just copying Samsung, but fair or not, when Apple does it it will draw a lot more attention - not just to Apple but to the danger this poses for Microsoft.

0
0
Happy

owin', Owen, and oan

Rik, like the long-past Minoan civilization, or the modern-day Pacific Island Samoan societies, the word Cupertinoan is best used to describe the culture of Cupertino.

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

Inherent contradiction.

This entire article is a refutation of it's premise. If things are going so well, then why do you need to engage in the cheerleading? I am pretty indifferent to the recent earnings news either way. Since I am not a stockholder in any of these companies, I don't see why I should care.

You're trying to kid yourself. That's a bad sign right there.

5
8
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Inherent contradiction.

Do you have a pension or money market fund?

Then you are indirectly investor in all sorts of companies including Apple even if you are a rabid apple hater.

You could change 'apple' to any one of a hundred other companies btw.

Mines the one with a copy of the FT in the pocket.

3
1
Childcatcher

Fruity Bookkeeping

<As Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer, who shared the call with Cook, pointed out, the quarter reported on Wednesday had 13 weeks; last year's Q1 had 14 weeks. >

Why don't you tell us when Apple's first quarter begins and how any quarter of one year can have more or less weeks than another year? Quarters usually begin on the first day of one month and end on the last day of the month two months later.

Is Apple claiming a Leap Week to explain these numbers or is Apple giving its friends who shorted it at $700 an opportunity to cover at $500?

0
3
Silver badge

Re: Fruity Bookkeeping

"Once every six years Apple adds an additional week to the first fiscal quarter to better align fiscal quarters with calendar quarters. Apple's fiscal quarters are usually 13 weeks in length. "

http://seekingalpha.com/article/318471-apple-s-monster-quarter-will-deliver-monster-sized-results

1
0

Re: Fruity Bookkeeping

For every US company I've every worked for or with, while quarters and years are the reporting periods, "months" are the data points. Months usually are subdivided into weeks, and have either 4 or 5 accounting weeks; and there are either 52+1/7 or 52+2/7 weeks to a year. Therefore there will always be at least 4 months with 5 weeks, and every 6 years or so you'll get an extra week, making 5 months with 5 weeks.

So, yeah, last year may well have been had a "leap (accounting) week" to reconcile the fact that we don't have an exact number of weeks in any year, yet accountants like working with weeks (largely because we all do).

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Fruity Bookkeeping

Some places eschew calendar months and have 13 sets of 4 week periods. IIRC Rolls Royce does that. It makes the accounting a bit easier, but if your salary arrives on a 4 week schedule it can make home budgeting a pain in the neck.

The spurious use of "Q1 2013" is a result of Apple having a 30 September year-end. So it classes Oct, Nov, Dec 2012 as being in 2013. I could say "Q1 of the 2012/13 financial (or fiscal as our US friends tend to say) year".

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Opinion

Lightning

Jack Clark

Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
ARA_LIbertad

Chris Mellor

Elliott Management sinks its teeth into retiring godhead

Features

Failure to crack next-gen semiconductors threatens to set back humanity
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
SAP Match Insights
Vorsprung durch grossendatatechnik, as we like to say in Germany
Inside the Google Lab where surgeons prepare the human/dog experiment
Big Blue exec tells El Reg what to keep an eye on