This week in Apple pundit land: Apple loses its lustre, Microsoft won after all, and Google's boss dispenses some festive and wholly unbiased seasonal wisdom
In this week's roundup of bonkers Apple analysis, the Macalope discovers:
Narrow viewpoints don't make someone right, but they sure make opinionating easier! And isn't that what TV financial news is all about? Not only does it take a particularly narrow field of view to see Microsoft as a big-time winner, it probably requires some sort of alternate timeline where the past ten years didn't happen. Finally, is there a narrower or more bizarre viewpoint than that of Eric Schmidt? If there is, the Macalope's not sure he wants to know about it.
Analysis! Or: Apple Is Losing Its Lustre (For Real This Time)
When you're looking for quality analysis about Apple, where else would you turn but a bunch of Wall Street talking heads?
Sorry, did the Macalope write "quality"? He meant to write "kwality."
"Pro: Apple lacking good news going into holidays" (tip o' the antlers to @JonyIveParody).
Pro what? Skater? Tennis player? Balloon animal artist?
With the crucial holiday shopping season here, the Apple name is losing its lustre in the face of a more diverse market of tablets and smartphones, a tech analyst told CNBC on Monday.
Right, because the company only sold 9 million iPhones on the device's opening weekend and are only now catching up with demand two and a half months later and, no, none of this makes any sense.
"There's very few catalysts left in the name," [Colin Gillis, a senior technology analyst with BGC Partner] said of Apple.
Sure, no one buys Apple products anymore. Just maybe 60 million iPhones this quarter. It's a dying brand.
Watch the video the article is summarizing and you'll see the kind of Sports Center-esque LET'S LOUDLY TALK-fest that's so popular on cable news channels, which explains why the horny one cut the cord years ago. The relatively staid Jon Fortt looks like Carl Sagan at a rodeo clown meetup next to the boisterous and laughy Gillis.
Gillis said his company forecasts more than 25 million iPads selling this year...
That's got to be a typo or misstatement, since Apple sold about 23 million iPads in the year-ago quarter alone. You know, it's hard to analyze the vapid statements when they're delivered in such a thick broth of mistakes.
"It's following the same path as the iPhone," Gillis said. "The only smartphone was the iPhone and the competition slowly caught it."
Wait, BlackBerrys weren't smartphones? Since when? If they're not, why are they still counted in market share? What about Android smartphones that are only used as feature phones? The Macalope knows facts aren't popular on cable news, but Apple never controlled the smartphone market, and its market share now is still within the range it's hovered around since about 2009.
"The only tablet was an iPad and then Amazon is going to get a little traction."
Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence, as Amazon doesn't release its sales figures.
He said Apple should be more "inquisitive" going forward and put more cash into work toward innovation rather than dividends, for example.
Sure! Finding good technologies to acquire is so easy when you're not the one who actually has to do it.
It's hard to blame Gillis too much. He's not entirely anti-Apple, having indicated his 5-year-old son will be getting an iPad for Christmas. Maybe it's just that boisterous I AM TALKING OVER YOU NOW shows aren't the best way to conduct financial analysis.
MS FTW: Microsoft can never lose!
Writing for Desperately Seeking Alpha, Nathan Brooks gives us some of that old-time religion.
Microsoft can never lose!
Microsoft (MSFT) has struggled, is struggling and perhaps will continue to struggle to make headway in mobile devices.
Nathan's off to a slow start with this argument, but don't worry. A dash of conventional wisdom and a few pro-Microsoft canards will get the ball rolling.
With Microsoft out of the picture, it seems Android/Google (GOOG) is winning the ecosystem war against Apple (AAPL).
That seems to be mostly a misstatement from Brooks, as he goes on to show that he knows Android's higher market share doesn't mean its ecosystem is more vibrant.
Which would explain this:
We kicked off 2013 with 872 iPad downloads of the first edition. And just 48 to Android.
But who wants some home-cooked conventional wisdom?!
The final thing to note is that both Apple and Android devices are primarily for consumption...
Mmm-mmm-mmm. Just like mom used to make! Before we put her into a home because, seriously, you can't actually cook arguments in an oven. She was starving herself.
Brooks knows that serious people use real computers. Real crappy Microsoft computers, apparently.
Reviews of Microsoft's first foray into tablets were harsh.
Well, the original Windows tablets didn't really make a splash. Then, when the Surface was announced, the tech press gushed over it, despite the fact that Microsoft would barely let anyone touch one. The first actual reviews were sort of middling; it was the sales figures that were harsh.
Microsoft's strategy is to aim its machines at professionals and enterprise users who at the end of the day would like to use their laptop as a tablet for a bit of light media consumption or gaming or just surfing the net.
OK, but the problem with that strategy is that Microsoft already owns that market. And when your mobile device is more of a laptop than a tablet, those professionals would rather just use something better designed for a touch interface that also has a great catalog of touch apps.
With that in mind it's important to note that Microsoft actually has the best app selection, certainly the app selection with the greatest span.
None of which are touch-enabled. File your fingers into points and enjoy!
Oh, and none of them run on the Surface RT. Oopsies. Hope that didn't confuse you! Also, hope you didn't buy a Surface RT, because we're probably killing it.
Only Windows 8 machines (running on x86) can run both Steam games and Fruit Ninja - and at the same time.
That's an, er, unusual use case scenario, Nathan. "What I'd really like to do is run Steam games on their lowest graphical setting in a window with the edges cut off while also running Fruit Ninja on the sidebar."
I wonder when at some point people start to talk about how Apple and Android are behind in applications?
Oh! Is it after Microsoft gets a catalogue of apps actually designed for touch? The Macalope bets that's what it is.
Will reviews of iPad or an Android tablet feel obliged to note that the tablet in question still doesn't have Office or provide universal printer support?
Party like it's 1999, Nathan. Party like it's 1999.
Samsung is the only company that is successfully launching products in multiple categories and that's hard to sustain, long term... Apple itself is starting to spread itself thin now with 4 iPods, 4 iPads, 4 iPhones and 5 Macs in its line-up.
Which is almost exactly like the 9 billion smartphones, televisions, industrial lathes, and weapons systems Samsung sells.
I would expect Apple's profits to be less than Microsoft's in 5 years: perhaps $15 billion on $150 billion in revenue (~25% gross margins).
Ha, OK, let's get this straight--if straightening out crazy talk is actually possible. You see an upside for Microsoft because of legacy Windows apps and Office, which so far have failed to make the Surface a winner but somehow will over the next five years as ... well, the Macalope's not really sure. Magic happens? The Earth is attacked by aliens through mobile devices and only Windows XP applications can save us? You also never once mention the fact that Microsoft doesn't even have a real CEO right now and that a new one might do a complete table-flip. Apple, meanwhile, is in big trouble because it's spread itself too thin. Like Samsung.
Weirdoclaus: How to switch from iPhone to Android, with Crazy Uncle Eric
Hey, kids! Who wants helpful holiday hints from Google's Eric Schmidt?!
That's right, no one! So, he appropriately posted them to Google+, where no one will see them.
See Eric's other guides, such as "Why Android is More Secure" (four words long: "Android is more secure") and "Why Most Televisions Now Ship With Google TV Shut Up Yes They Do."
Many of my iPhone friends are converting to Android.
"Nancy, have you met my iPhone friend, Ted?"
Did Schmidt learn nothing from late 1970s PSAs?
The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface.
Oh! His friends are aliens! OK, now this makes more sense.
They are a great Christmas present to an iPhone user!
Use Christmas as an excuse to inexplicably engage in guerrilla platform warfare and promote Google's attempts to get your web traffic data! It's a win-win! Google wins twice! And, really, isn't that what Christmas is all about?
If there's one thing we can all agree on it's that people don't use Christmas enough as a means to make other people's lifestyle decisions.
Here are the steps I recommend to make this switch. Like the people who moved from PCs to Macs and never switched back, you will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back as everything will be in the cloud...
And we'll never give it back to you. Ever. Join us here in the cloud. It's beautiful. All are one. YOU WILL JOIN US.
80% of the world, in the latest surveys, agrees on Android.
80 percent of the smartphone market, Dr. Schmidt. What is his doctorate in, anyway? "I hold a doctorate in barking mad. It's an honorary title, actually. My real degree is in home economics. Nobody's ever checked!"
Schmidt, or some hapless marketing intern, goes on to detail the easy 14-step process for converting from iPhone, which everyone is doing now, which is why Apple's sales are falling. Uninvited 14-step conversions make a great Christmas present!
It's probably easiest to backup your iPhone photos to the Mac, but not copy the old photos to the Android phone.
You'll have a new life and new friends in Android, anyway.
Be sure to use Chrome, not Safari; its [sic] safer and better in so many ways. And it's free.
Unlike Safari and all those other browsers that you have to pay for!
[eyes dart back and forth]
Be sure to use two-factor authentication for your Gmail and Google accounts. Makes it very hard for someone to break into your Gmail. Also free.
Wow! You collect your users' cell phone numbers for free?! You're so awesome, crazy Uncle Eric!
Whatever you give people for Christmas this year, please remember to keep the true meaning of the holidays in your heart: forcing your loved ones into your narrow view of acceptable platform choices.
Why, what did you think it was?