JP Mark

Value, growth, contrarian
JP Mark
Value, growth, contrarian
Contributor since: 2013
Thank you for all the comments and feedback! I don't believe I specifically stated or even suggested that Apple will ever set up a bank or become a bank.
Would it be really difficult for a company to compete with the Visa and MasterCard networks? Yes, but recall that in 1985 a retailer called Sears created the Discover Card...
I firmly believe that physical credit cards will disappear entirely, replaced by a string of digits entered into a mobile device. Yes, there is a good deal of speculation in my article, and there are lots of nuances to the credit card industry that are glossed over in the interest of brevity and clarity. The article's objective is to push investors to think about how the credit card industry will change once mobile phones are widely used for payments.
Apple is really good at building infrastructure, cutting deals with established industry players, and buying knowledge and expertise in areas that they find strategically useful. With the shift to NFC, Apple will have the opportunity to help its customers, upend an archaic system, bring lower costs, and create greater efficiency. They already have most of the pieces they would need to create their own branded 'card', and what they don't have they can surely purchase. (I expect that Google will also be a formidable player - and it would not surprise me if Google decided to set up or buy a bank - an article for another day.)
The article was never intended as an analysis of the minutiae of the credit card processing system as it exists today, or all the reasons why PayPal and Square should never have gotten off the ground, but did. Instead, I would ask investors to think about why Apple created ApplePay in the first place, and where they could ultimately take it.
By the way, "Apple Computer" was a bit of literary license - what can I say, I'm old school.
There are, indeed, some great lessons to be learned from Kodak, Motorola and Woolworth, which is precisely why I am wary of tech companies and retailers.
Your point about Disney's dependence on ESPN is well taken. That said, sports is just another form of content, and I like the fact that it provides diversification.
I have not been following energy companies that closely of late, but my impression is that the only technologies such companies embrace are ones that extend the life of their current business models. My own personal opinion is that energy companies will sink every last dime into locating and pumping out every bit of fossil fuel on our planet. In some ways they remind me of gamblers who, having just won big, keep betting more and more. At some point (and that may be many decades from now, I concede), some modern-day Tesla will invent an infinite cheap energy source and then it will be game over - at least we can all hope.
Thank you very much for your comments. Frankly, I am a little surprised that my 100 year timeline has struck such a raw nerve with a few readers. In 2114, let's you and I get together and drink a toast to Seeking Alpha!
My sense was that Coke has not been showing much growth lately, but thank you for saving me the time to look up all those numbers!
Sorry if you took offense at my attempt to combine humor with analysis.
You're quite correct that I have grossly oversimplified my analysis to make points. Several of today's top 20 largest US companies will likely find ways to adapt and grow over the next several decades, so I'm not writing any of them off entirely. GE presents many good case studies for how a company should deal with continuous change. I suggest that only a few truly great and lucky content companies (like Disney) have intrinsic features which give them the capacity to grow indefinitely.
Terrific analysis and very well reasoned - thank you.
You're probably correct, but what's the harm in pushing the limits of our analytic skills?
Thank you for your comment. I like the Coca-Cola company and consume a lot of their sugary beverages myself, so I wasn't trying to knock them in any way. I am inclined to believe Tai Yu's analysis (see below) which appears to indicate that Coke's best growth days have already happened.
You're quite right, of course, that a lot of unforeseen things can happen between now and 2114. My point is that using best available knowledge and information, it's difficult to spot any other existing company, besides Disney, that has the potential to grow continuously for the indefinite future.
Thank you very much for your kind comments. If LinkedIn had an 'inner circle' I would invite you to be in mine!
Thank you for your comment. I clearly failed to adequately convey that some parts of the personal narrative were 'tongue in cheek'.
Quite true - if you are willing to risk scratching your device and void the warranty, you can certainly open it up and tinker with it as much as you want. A major problem I have had with every iPhone is that the battery life is just never quite enough. My previous phones, all Blackberry's, had the advantage of my being able to take out a battery and put in a new one in a few seconds. I know Apple could have made it easy if they had wanted to - it was clearly a choice. It did not keep me from buying iPhones, but if they can't make batteries last 2x longer, I believe they should give customers a way to change them out at will.
Indeed, Apple is doing many things right. At the same time, Apple is also doing the very minimum required to maintain its standing as a public company. Investors who expect or hope that they will do more, I believe will be disappointed.
Thank you for taking time to comment. As noted above, I was and am aware of the buy back program and perhaps should have been more precise in my wording. The article, as published, is accurate: Apple clearly has no interest in doing share buy backs to boost its share price or send 'buy' signals. The fact that they have announced a token share buy back program and have apparently repurchased a negligible number of shares does not contradict the basic premise.
Right - I should have been more precise: They have authorized a buy back. But have they actually purchased any shares so far?