Seeking Alpha

Keith Woolcock

View as an RSS Feed
View Keith Woolcock's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • Who Will Be the Coca Cola of the 21st Century? [View article]
    My favourite Buffett/Munger story is the one where Buffett is explaining the benefits of using discounted cash flow to a journalist. Munger says, but Warren, I've never seen you a discount model.
    Buffett - Charlie, there are some things you should never do in public.
    Buffett knows about how to use information. that is why he likes to either own the company or sit on the board.
    May 3 04:14 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Who Will Be the Coca Cola of the 21st Century? [View article]
    apple only spends 3% on R&D, so its not a tech company like Intel or Microsoft is. What I like is that fly wheel now driving the company forward is the Apps Store - ie Apple has everyone else doing its work for it. What I need to look at and expand in another piece is the dynamics of branding. Dell, Microsoft etc may have grown rapidly but they were not (maybe Microsoft got close) such a branding success. Just as Coke -see my Pepsi Paradox Piece- is tied up with the self identity of consumers, Apple is doing the same. Putting white ear phones on the iPod was a stroke of genius - that meant iPod users stood out in a crowd. Apple is luxury product, it has that cache, but it is a luxury, cool product that a lot of people can buy and so make a statement about self. Didnt really have the time or space to put that in this piece, but will revisit it. The point is - apple is maybe less dependent on new product than many think - it has become an enabler for developers, content generators etc to express themselves. that's a pretty good place to be.
    The meme is travelling quickly - a year ago in Asia locals there would say that Apple was irrelevant. That changed almost over night - it is the APPs that the asian's love.
    May 3 01:48 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Who Will Be the Coca Cola of the 21st Century? [View article]
    spot on question. owned it from april 2003 to december 2009 and foolishly sold. looking to buy back, but as i keep recommending it to clients it is difficult to find the window. stock not that pricey when you back out the $42bn.
    May 3 01:39 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pepsi Paradox, Or Why the iPhone Is Poised to Outsell Blackberry [View article]
    Whatever, it's very Zen - embrace contradiction and make it your friend.
    Apr 14 09:58 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Research in Motion: Another Company Apple Will Vanquish [View article]
    apple is strong in europe and if you check a piece i wrote on seeking alpha, when the company last reported, you will see that for the first time Asian sales are very strong. in the last quarter profits from asia doubled as a % of group profits - ie now at 20% and rising. Sales in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are up several fold. When I was in singapore in March, a local mobile operator, told me that 70% of handset sales are smartphones and the largest proportion is Apple.
    RIM asp has been falling for about a year, when it stops falling the stock will be interesting. In the meantime, the real battle they face is that the iPhone clearly demonstrates that hardware innovation, back end connectivity etc for IT departments, is less important than the massive numbers of apps that run on the device. We live in the Smart Paradigm, it's all about Apps.
    The way people get wound up on the subject of RIM leads me to suppose that the stock should be re named: Research and Commotion, or Devotion and certainly Emotion
    Apr 14 03:40 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Research in Motion: Another Company Apple Will Vanquish [View article]
    walled gardens are reappearing - Facebook is a walled garden, Google can't search it. The Apps store is a walled garden. There is also a ton of evidence, as one of Meeker's slides confirms, that users of mobile internet devices are more inclined to pay. You are right about subscriptions, the key is can content companies create new original stuff you cant get else were. Remember: The Medium is the Message. Check out this link
    which is a good example of what is on offer. Apple demonstrated with iTunes that if you can save people time and make it easy they will pay. This is what makes media stocks so interesting - they are great ways to play a mid cycle recovery - ie ad rates are going up, second, 3D and HD are a new product cycle, 3, devices like iPad and suggest that the next move for content - it will take some years- is for payment. In other words media goes from the being the perfect yawn to enjoying the perfect storm.
    Apr 13 02:21 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In Defense of Rubicon - Massive Shorts Show Overcrowded Trade [View article]
    The LED market is fascinating and your article and the accompanying comments throw a lot of useful light on it. In Asia one particular broker has led the bear charge on these stocks, but the scenario mapped out has not really happened yet. One factor that the bears appear to have under estimated is that yields remain lower than expected when using Aixtron and Veeco equipment. In the last week I see that Samsung Securities has upgraded both Epistar and Seoul Semiconductor (linked to Cree). I note also that Cree has just been upgraded by one broker in the US.
    The big short position - as very usefully explained by you - is a real worry however. I remember being a buyer of HTC all through 2008 and 2009 - when the stock collapsed. Eventually I was proven right and HTC is now about the best performing stock in Asia, but in the intervening period it was a stormy ride. At some point I think you are going to be seriously right and Rubicon and other LED stocks will explode when those shorts are finally forced to cover. Beside the coming mega cycle of domestic and commercial lighting, plus headlights in cars - there is another market that is threatening to develop: LED is emerging as very useful component in high speed data networks. As a solid state circuit it can be switched on and off in milliseconds and so can be used to transmit high speed data. The hope is to get up to speeds of one gigabit a second. work at Edinburgh University is on the point of being commercialised in this area.
    Nov 17 11:57 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Google's Big Mistake [View article]
    sounds like your all Appled up skipaq
    Jun 1 11:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pepsi Paradox, Or Why the iPhone Is Poised to Outsell Blackberry [View article]
    Your comment about a sense of calm is well made. Are you familiar with Wabi Sabi, a Japanese design ethic? Perhaps there is something of that in Apple. It has always amazed me that no other computer company took design seriously and made objects that we could cherish. For me the key difference is that when I own an iPhone or MacAir i feel that i am expressing myself, making a statement. You are spot on, there is a calm, a weight and resonance with an Apple object that you just dont get from most other devices. Wabi Sabi is about simplicity and yet it is complex too, which is why some objects resonate - we cherish them rather as a talisman might have been cherished in the past.
    I have a couple of Mac's, but because of my work I also have to run VM Fusion so that I can support Windows. When you flip from Mac O/S to Windows it is rather like moving from the serenity of a church to a trailer park. Appalling.
    Jun 1 03:25 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Broadcast TV Networks Are Toast [View article]
    intelligent article. lots to think about, thanks
    May 28 03:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Decline of Google [View article]
    MetaThis, you must work for Google? You make some interesting points and yes, people like me ought to monitor it. However, one year ago at the company's results presentation, a great deal was made about the prospects for mobile advertising. i think we can all agree that there is probably less to mobile advertising than meets the eye. The ergonomics are all wrong. If Google now thinks that Apps etc are the way forward, good. All the same, they are playing catch up with Apple rather than leading. That doesnt mean they will not one day surpass Apple in the Apps business but it does suggest that they have not internalised the changes afoot to the same degree - they are not working intuitively.
    Don't get me wrong, as i said in one of my earlier comments - Google provides a terrific service, we'd all be a lot worse off without it. I just have this bee in my bonnet that we are now in the content centric era where search is less pivotal, though still important. Google's biggest mistake is that it seems to have antagonised the world's content companies.
    My other theory, which will sound totally wacky, is that Apple's success is because it helps people express themselves, just as a watch or a car might. If you use Apple it says something about who you are. THat is the most powerful place a company can be - i dont think Eric Schmidt gets that - the whole company is very engineering orientated. Still, I will take on board all you say and monitor the stock closely - all im really interested in is making money.
    May 18 09:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Google's Android Will Dominate Mobile [View article]
    It's not a case of Apple knows what the users want at all. No one knew they needed iTunes or the iPod, just as no one knew they needed a walkman. In fact, the market research done for the Walkman said the product would flop. Maybe it's a little like writing a book, a painting or piece of music. Sometimes you have a vision and you go for it. Edison didnt know people wanted phonographs - the Wright brothers didnt know people would want planes. The big breakthroughs are unpredictable because they end up creating the market that was not foreseen.
    May 16 07:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Who Will Be the Coca Cola of the 21st Century? [View article]
    you raise a number of good questions, which Im not sure I can answer. On your observation about the US still dominating tech, that is absolutely right and one good reason why it does not pay to bet too gloomy about the US. Actually, demographics would be another - china's demo profile is not as good as that of the US and nor is its geo location.

    If i look at tech across Asia, ie Taiwan, Japan, Sth Korea etc, it is predominantly hardware focused. Microsoft and Intel own the key IP and so everyone's margins are wafer thin. Samsung is the biggest tech name in Asia, but most of its profits come from making memory chips and screens, the consumer brand is secondary .
    There is good media in Asia and great computer games (if you can trade Sth Korea look up a stock called NC Soft), but the US dominates software. Maybe that's part of the key.
    The other ingredient would be Silicon Valley - great universities, venture funds, lots of 1st rate engineers and entrepreneurial role models. In addition, US tech companies have customers who are prepared to experiment with the new stuff. All in all a winning combination that it is hard to replicate.
    May 6 04:20 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Who Will Be the Coca Cola of the 21st Century? [View article]
    i certainly agree with the carla bruni example.
    May 6 04:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Research in Motion: Another Company Apple Will Vanquish [View article]
    70% of economy is consumer. if you look at the 10 year performance of Intel, Microsoft, Dell etc, it doesn't amount to much - check the charts you'll see. Between 2000 and last year PC sales in value terms fell by 12% - if Gartner's numbers are correct. The business market is mature so is slow moving. We might have a pop this year because it fell so much last year. But check Otellini's statement in the intel conference call transcript, he's not holding his breath for a big upgrade cycle. The big game now is the networking of individual's lives - that is what is driving notebook sales, handset sales and is about to spread out into content. There is so much hot air expended on the PC upgrade cycle and what businesses like to buy but it is not as relevant as it used to be in 1990s and 1980s. Apple doesnt need to worry about it - if it happens fine, but Apple is not going to make business the key to its strategy - it has a much bigger market to chase
    Apr 14 04:38 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment