This week's three pieces bring us a variety of opinions--shocking, wide-ranging, and well-reasoned.
Just kidding. They're all completely nuts and negative about Apple.
Stunning plot twist
Yes, the theater management would like to warn you that no one will be seated during this segment until the stunning plot twist is revealed!
Is the implication that companies with iconic founders should run away from their legacy? Also, have they tried force-quitting?
Despite Steve Jobs' advice to never think about what he would do, the ghost of the visionary founder still rules at Apple two and a half years after his death ...
... according to industry watchers.
The late CEO's voice is heard at the beginning and end of a video showing off Apple's eco-friendly and futuristic-looking office space that gained renewed attention online this week ...
Meanwhile, Apple released a different video on its environmental efforts that's entirely narrated by Tim Cook. You know, the current CEO.
Apple is scheduled to release its second quarter earnings after the closing bell today, and many analysts, including Brian Colello at Morningstar, are predicting flat results as Apple fans wait for the next big thing.
Now, hold onto your kerchiefs and stand close to your fainting couches! Here comes the giant surprise! Guess who is not impressed!
Yukari Iwatani Kane, who wrote about Apple after Steve Jobs in the book "Haunted Empire," told ABCNews.com the video is even more proof that Apple has changed since Jobs died, even though she said the company might not want people to think so.
Changed ... for the worse. Because of a video. The signs are there if you open your eyes to see them, people. And have a book to push.
"What you're seeing there is Apple trying to create a vision without Steve Jobs and personally to me, I wasn't very convinced by it," she said.
Oh, wow! Who saw that coming?! Author of incendiary book based on thin reasoning does not accept things that run counter to her preconceived notions!
"Steve was Apple and Apple is Steve. It was all about him."
Steve did all the soldering. True story.
"Now that he's no longer there, Apple has to forge an identity of its own. Apple stardom was there in part because of Steve's stardom. Who is the star now?" Kane asked.
Having set up the no-win scenario, Kane now explains how Apple can not win. Because this bucket of no-winning that she's constructed has no win in it.
Make with the innovation thing already!
Writing for CNBC, Matt Hunter and Ansuya Harjani ask the age-old question: What have you done for us lately, Apple?
Isn't there some kind of microwavable innovation?!
While Apple's move to share more of its cash hoard was cheered by investors, it has done little to quell fears that the technology giant is losing the innovation game to rivals.
Right. All those rivals who are shipping industry-changing products.
Oh, sorry, is that not what you meant? Does innovation mean one thing when you talk about Apple and something else entirely when you talk about Apple's rivals? Be nice if you could pick a meaning.
Now, let's find a guy who's guaranteed to give a negative quote. Hmm. Rob Enderle? No, it needs to be a financial analyst.
Got it. [flips Rolodex to "C"]
"Anyone can do financial engineering," said Trip Chowdhry, analyst at Global Equities Research.
If Apple's so good at "financial engineering," why didn't it financially engineer itself some more iPad sales? Hunter and Harjani don't mention any specific charges by Chowdhry about how Apple engineered themselves a good quarter, of course. Because general potshots are free.
If anything, the move shows that Apple's board is aware of the fact that the company has lost billions in market share since Tim Cook took over in 2011, he said.
"Billions in market share"? Does Chowdhry know how numbers work?
Apple needs to create product, Chowdhry said. Consumers don't care about the stock, and are asking "where's my iWatch?" he said.
No. They really aren't. Dunderheaded financial analysts like Chowdhry are asking "Where's my iWatch?"
Case in point, Bert Dohmen, president of the eponymous Dohmen Capital Research (motto: "It's so good I named it after myself and also I'm the only guy who works here.").
"They have had so much in the pipeline for the last three years - they were going to have a TV, but they never had it.
They've got all these imaginary products coming out ...
Look inside yourself Bert. The Apple television was there all along.
... while other companies come out with real [products]," Dohmen said.
Like the Galaxy Gear. You know, actual crap. Crap you can hold and touch and then stick in a drawer because, ugh, what a piece of crap, why did I buy that?
So, in order to provide balance, Hunter and Harjani found a guy who's pretending to be negative on AAPL (despite his words, Chowdhry has an $800/share target for the stock) and a guy who actually is negative on AAPL. That should about cover it.
"Everything is a disappointment with Apple - they just can't their act together and the competition is running away from them," he said.
Well, fortunately they're not running away with the profit. Apple's still got most of that. So that's good.
Sensationalists gotta sensationalize
Naturally that piece got the Macalope interested in Bert Dohmen. Who is this veritable firehose of Apple negativism spraying us in the face? Well, in addition to apparently being a Microsoft FrontPage 97 user, he's a perennial CNBC talking head. He's also--you're not going to believe this--part of the Forbes "contributor" network. (The Macalope uses quotes because it's really not clear what they're contributing.)
Over at the Forbes laff factory, Dohmen banged out this "contribution" late last month:
"Why I Still Wouldn't Buy Apple" (no link, bien sûr).
Dohmen goes through a litany of his AAPL-price-prediction bona fides ... before detailing his cultist Apple doom manifesto:
One very smart hedge fund manager tried to coerce Apple to do a $150 billion stock buyback. That would have been his "exit" strategy. But Apple can't do that.
Alas, it could only do $130 billion.
Management is so much more important than the widgets the company makes. At Apple, the management changed when Steve Jobs passed away.
Actually, it changed when Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO. But thanks for informing us that dead people can't run companies. (Hashtags: #finance, #analysis, #zombies, #cuckoobananas.)
Now, you might want to hydrate and limber up for this next twist of logic, lest you pull a hamstring or groin muscle just by reading it.
Every product currently sold by Apple was developed under Steve Jobs.
Every product line was started under Steve Jobs, but not every product currently sold was developed under Jobs. But Dohmen's point is that only Steve Jobs could innovate, which we all know to be true because it's been in a book.
Current management is production oriented, there is no creativity. It doesn't listen to its customers. There are so many simple enhancements customers have asked for, such as a USB port on the iPad.
A USB port on the iPad. The iPad that was developed under Steve Jobs. That iPad.
AAAGH, MY GROIN.
The Apple bulls tell us about the great "eco-system" of Apple. In other words, the millions of people who are locked into this 'gulag' because it is not compatible with other brands.
In Soviet Apple, content controls you!
Well, Sony had that with Betamax ...
Buh? Actually, wrong. VHS became more popular because its content library was broader, despite the fact that Betamax was a better user experience. Apple has both a broader library and a better user experience.
I made my escape from the "Apple Gulag" 18 months ago.
He now lives in the woods in Siberia, foraging for nuts. Which he then uses to form his investment advice.
People are fleeing the eco-system in droves.
Apple sells more devices every day, but somehow people are "fleeing in droves." Clearly what's happening is that the last holdouts are buying up more and more devices in a stockpiling mentality. The end is nigh.
Just look at the numbers. At one time, Apple had a monopoly on smartphones.
That ... never happened.
Closed systems, like the ones named above, always lose out to open systems.
Which is why we all use Linux on the desktop, The End.
Apple should license its technology and designs, especially now that people are looking for an alternative to the horrible Windows 8.
Wow! There's a ridiculous argument the Macalope hasn't seen in a while. And what a great time to be making it, right? As Microsoft is forced to sell its own hardware because no one wants to pay for operating systems anymore.
The Apple OS [sic] could easily get 50% market share instead of the current 12% in computers.
And 12-percent profit share instead of 50 percent!
Under the current CEO of Apple, there has not been any major product advancement. Each product is a disappointment.
Just look at this stupid iPad Air. Just look at it. GOD I HATE IT SO MUCH. And don't even get the horny one started on the Mac Pro. So disappointing.
At one time, the profit margin was around 74%.
Seriously, what numbers are you looking at?
Apple has 85,000 employees. What do all these people do?
Uh, mainly work in its stores, which are the envy of the retail industry and have help put the company where it is today?
For me, the greatest clue as to the vision of current management is this statement from the CEO, who believes very much in man-made "global warming."
Would you want a pseudo-science zealot heading up your company?
Better question: Would you want a guy who doesn't know where Apple's employees work and apparently uses made-up market-share and margin numbers to justify his decisions giving you investment advice?
For me, declining profits ...
Profits were up this quarter.
... declining profit margins ...
So were margins.
... declining market share ...
Stable profit share.
... and small increases in sales are all the reasons to sell a stock, not to buy it.
Well, they might be, if they were all true. Which they are not.
So, it'll be interesting to see if Dohmen adds this to his list of AAPL bona fides. On April 15th, he predicted AAPL would start falling, "possibly in an accelerating fashion."
Or, you know, it would rise. About 10 percent. Whatever. Falling is like rising. Also, your wrong predictions don't count. Only your right ones.
Over at CXO Advisory, they note this about Dohmen:
In the disclaimer at the end of the sample copy of the Wellington Letter and the end of the sample copy of Smarte Traders, Bert Dohmen provides the following self-assessment of his advice: "...we do not represent that it is accurate or complete or that it should be relied upon."
Now, that's financial advice from Dohmen that you can use.