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  • Why Apple Will Repeat History And Plunge Into The Abyss: Time To Call It Quits [View article]
    Correction : Apple *was* the most secretive company under Jobs. When pictures of the iPhone 5 were all over the Internet 6 months before the official release killed the myth. It was the same with iPads and MacBooks Pro Retina. So since we don't see any stolen pictures of any new devices, it's highly possible that there is nothing to expect in the coming 6-8 months...
    May 28, 2013. 04:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tim Cook's Improbable Victory In Washington [View article]

    Any company, that earns money abroad must pay taxes in each country where it works. It's a simple matter of respect and ethics. There is no free lunch and especially in taxes matters. Today corporations like Apple, Amazon or Starbucks abuse of EU tax weakness, tomorrow it will certainly turn against them. It's already being publicly discussed by political opposition parties in countries like UK, France, Spain, Scandinavian countries, etc to set restrictive and punitive measures against the corporations that evade taxes in EU. Some politicians offer to close the frontier to these products or set huge importation taxes. Without even mentioning a huge boycott campaign going against US companies like Apple or Starbacks in Europe. I wonder how a couple of saved billions today will impact on their earnings in 5 years from now and if this tax evasion really worth it! Image is essential for consumer companies and once it's lost, it's really hard to gain it back.
    May 22, 2013. 02:03 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What If Apple Weren't A Tech Stock? [View article]
    I think that Apple's low valuation is on the contrary extremely rational, since Apple is a tech stock. Even though, people would like to see Apple as a company having the most unique products and the most loyal customers, it's simply isn't so. Apple isn't a pharmaceutical firm having a 30 year patent on AIDS cure, so it's extremely rational to admit that their future won't be bright indefinitely especially in the world where everything is going faster.

    Apple invented a brand new business model and unfortunately for them, they are unable to put a patent on it while it might be their most crucial innovation. Today every company is able to reproduce Apple's policy and each of their products. Apple reinvented smartphones, but they were unable to oblige the concurrence not to reproduce them. They invented home tablets and again, concurrence took it from Apple. The hardest hit should have been Amazon's and Google's tablets, that are being sold at their production price without any benefits. They offer the AppStore to their customers? Well you also have Android Store, Nokia Store and Windows Store. They made iCloud with an interconnectivity between all your devices? Microsoft offers that too. So it's obvious that no matter what Apple invents, concurrence will find a way to take it from Apple fast without even infringing their patents.

    Observing Apple is like going back to Industrial Revolution. They invest billions in innovations, take all the risks by releasing new products and as soon as concurrence notice that it's a succes, a year later they release their versions of Apple's most successful products. Why bother being first when you can go farther much easier by being second or third? Being first isn't the most gratifying spot. I think it's also tough for Apple to invent new products, create new markets and all that to see other companies take it away from Apple a little bit fast year after year. So I don't think that new products would come anytime soon.

    Apple's strength and weakness is its innovative strategy so I think it must the best explanation of their low valuation. If I had to choose between Apple that have proved to be the most revolutionary firm on the tech market at the moment, and Samsung that is being now the fastest reproducer of all Apple's innovations, I would invest in Samsung. Last worldwide trials showed us that openly copying someone isn't punished in any country, so why bother taking any risks by innovating on the tech market?
    Nov 10, 2012. 12:08 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]

    "With each new generation sales are getting less explosive at the release and they are slowing down a little bit faster quarter after quarter."

    You are absolutely right, I made a mistake in my statement. The sales are indeed much more important on the short run, shortly after the release, so they are "more" explosive. On the other hand on the long run sales decrease much more after a couple of months than for previous generations of their products. So the total sales doesn't necessarily increase on the overall and for some generations they might even decrease. Once again, it depends of the countries. I have a particularly explicit 2D graph showing this Apple's curiosity with an nice asymmetry on the left, but unfortunately, as you know, I'm unable to attach it to my comment.
    Nov 5, 2012. 04:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]

    I don't know why you are getting so frustrated and I didn't know that writing a comment is as important as writing a doctoral thesis. Once again, I express my personal opinions and I don't pretend being 100% right, I just put some figures out of my memory from different articles I read. I won't start searching for accurate figures, Internet is full of them and I won't put sources to write a comment (not even an article), just to convince some guy on the Internet that I'm right. I'm positively sure that you won't start reading studies going from 20 to 300 pages in languages you might not even know, just to catch up one of the arguments I wrote. Most of them are also confidential and I'm not authorized to share them. I do economical and financial analysis on daily basis on work, so I won't start doing them for free on my free time. And I don't think that you would find anyone doing hours of additional research of sources just for simple comments. Except a couple of lines of Apple's results you didn't present any figures either, so you should get back on earth. It's just Seeking Alpha, not an ECB summit, even though according to the number of your comments, this site might be even more important for you. I'm sorry that you are taking our conversation that way. I didn't try to prove you that I'm right, I perfectly know that it's pointless on the Internet. I consider that as a typical Internet exchange. Sorry that I bothered you, I'm just ill and bored, because I'm stuck at home. Luckily you won't hear about me now, I'm going back to office tomorrow. Thank you for your time and take care.
    Nov 5, 2012. 04:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]

    Oh, and one more thing. All the articles I read about Apple sales lately point on the fact that over 3/4 of people who want to buy an Apple product, buy them upon its release. So in the first months the sales are exploding and after a couple of month they slow down. With each new generation sales are getting less explosive at the release and they are slowing down a little bit faster quarter after quarter. You can notice that with detailed sales figures, but of course, companies know how to make their figures look better.
    Nov 5, 2012. 12:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]

    Do you know another way to forecast the near sales, accept by analyzing what companies do today? You were talking about the present figures and present sales, while I was presenting you the arguments that show that these sales won't last and in my last comment I was explaining how I made my analysis.

    Regarding the Surface screen. When you put it near an iPad Retina to comparate, you might notice some differences, however they are sold in different stores or in different parts of the same store. So you won't be able to compare them while you purchase a tablet. I would also like to remind you the YouTube video where people are presenting an iPad 2 as the new iPad and street walkers praise its "incredible" graphics. The truth is, that average people just don't care about things like screens, chips or graphic cards. They look at the design and functionalities. Apple's design is better, while Surface offers much more functions. It's your choice, it's a free market.

    There are many articles in France (Le Figaro), Spain (El Pais), Belgium (L'Echo, Le Soir), in Germany (Der Spiegel) and even in UK (Daily Mirror) that point that Apple's succes depends of people who buy EVERY new product that is being released. About 60% of people who bought the iPad 2 had already the iPad 1. It was same, but less pronounced with the transition between iPad 2 and Retina and very few "new" clients bought an iPad Retina. Over 40% of Europeans who had an iPhone 4 bought the 4s. So the big challenge for Apple in Europe would be to satisfy these same customers and make them keep buying. When I surf on the Internet and talk to people, I realize that Apple isn't in such a good shape anymore. They need either improve their existing products dramatically or create brand new ones.

    When you get the raw figures, with the big picture, Apple is doing great, but you need to take closer and more detailed look on these figures. You will notice that Apple's sales are down over 30% allover the Europe and in other strategic countries. All their sales increase came from the 3rd world countries where they started their sales lately. So yes, for an average IT company the sales are excellent, but Apple has never been average and personally, now I start to see their limits. You also pointed on the Western transitions in China. Well they are going to amplify in the next 5 years.

    I already explained you why Apple products might be "desirable" by some people, in my last comment with a detailed explanation of the Snob effect. If you don't understand it, you can take any Classic Economy book or some very developed books about marketing. Today iPhones are sold in shops like "Best-Buy" (Media Markt) in Europe, which shows how far we are from the original image of iPhone. And so, when you walk on Banhofsrasse in Dusseldorf, on Les Champs Elysées in Paris or on Stariy Arbat in Moscow you see wealthy people as well as some window cleaners or waiters with brand new iPhones. How long do you think this situation will last?

    Wealthy people are disgusted to buy the same products as the lower class people and as soon as they will find another product in the very near future, iPhones won't be as "desirable" as now. As I explained, next year wealthy people will quit Apple for a brand new (European) company that will take Apple's place on luxury market, middle class will notice that and will quit Apple too and finally the lower class might stay, or might leave, they aren't the targeted customers. It will take 2 years to notice the difference and 3 years to realize that Apple is loosing its market shares.

    You can take it as some speculations, or you can take as an opinion and analysis that are different of yours. As an investor who would like to improve his vision of the market, I would advice you to take it as a different opinion. On the other hand, since we are talking on the Internet, neither you or me have any authority. Anyhow, for me the subject is closed, as I already said enough.
    Nov 5, 2012. 12:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]

    I think that you misunderstood me. I'm not talking about the present figures, we all know them. What I try to analyze is the near future. 2-3 years from now and how their sales are going to evolve. And no, unfortunately, I don't keep the sources of the articles that I use for my personal research. However most of them are in French, Russian, Dutch, German or Spanish, so I don't think that they would be very usefull for you.

    I separate the customers in 3 categories to analyze the sales -> upper class, middle class and low class. I would like to remind you that first generations of iPods were considered as being an exclusive products in Europe with starting price range of €370. It was a lot of money back in 2003-2006. That's the former Apple's world strategy, make it expensive to make people want it. You see wealthy people buying it and using it so you envy them and you spare your money to buy it too. Then suddenly they release a new cheaper generation and they make it accessible for everyone and by doing so they take the whole market. For example the 4th generation of iPod was at €220 compared to €370 for the 3rd. So if you look closer, today you see that only people who can't afford buying an iPhone have an iPod.

    The same thing is going for iPhones and iPads accept that this time it's much faster and they don't decrease the prices. People spared their money or they bought older generation. However, by doing so, they are also loosing their wealthy customers, who's consumption was led exclusively by the snob effect. These people don't want to buy the exact same products as the others. These people were the ones who actually made Apple's success. On the other hand, a lot of middle class and low class customers feel betrayed by the fact that they were sparing for so long and Apple release a brand new model so soon.

    So what happens today is that Apple will probably start loosing its wealthy customers and they will face the limits of their trend. I don't see any hint regarding what they could release next, accept a potential Apple TV screen. I'm not sure that the upper class will let their Bang&Olufsens go so easily. Anyhow, Apple's sales depend of the third world sales and of their ability to offer a brand new exclusieve product to make the hype revive. I'm also afraid that they will release an unfinished product again, just to put it on the market as soon as possible. Anyway, the worst strategy for Apple is to rely on the low class customers and on the third world countries, because it's that's how you lose your leadership, become a random IT company and spit on your product's quality because you don't have any respect for your customers. AppleCare is the best customer service in the world and Apple have it thanks to all its premium customers.
    Nov 4, 2012. 04:01 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]
    Dear Materialist,

    Not true, is not an argument. Many different articles point on the fact that same people who bought the first iPad bought the second and the third ones. It's a huge positive point for Apple, it means that they manage to satisfy their customers but I'm not sure that it will last. It looks more like a trend rather than a rational customer's choice. 100 million sold iPads is very impressive, I agree with that. I don't know if you are familiar with economic theories, but here we've got a clear case of substitution of PC's by tablets combined with a "snob" effect. Once people get used to tablets and stop consider them as an object they want change every year the demand will fall. For instance, in nineties people were buying a new PC every 2-3 years, nowadays PC's are kept in average for over 9 years by families. To be honest, only Apple employees or Apple investors could consider a faster processor or a better screen as a revolution. First iPad is fast enough for the functions that it offers and its screen is already good enough. As it goes for me, a flash player and a multiple programs view would have been much more useful. Maybe some people get easily impressed by such things. Take for example a Porsche 911 2012 and a Porsche 911 2014. They will probably add some 5hp and maybe a better GPS, but it stays the exact same model and a person who bought the 2012 model won't buy a new one unless Porsche change it completely.

    I'm used to hear all kind of excuses when companies fail to present satisfying results. Chinese currency will keep rising and Chinese workers will keep asking higher salaries, social coverage and paid vacations. So if Apple will increase its dependence toward Foxconn, as it was supposed to happen, you should get used to these results. What I saw in first place is that iPads 3 weren't sold as well as expected and iPhones weren't produced in sufficient quantities.

    Regarding my girlfriend, she didn't really want an iPhone 5, she simply told me that she liked it and I jumped on that occasion. What she really wanted is Vertue Signature, but I wasn't ready to buy her an €11k phone. That's what impresses people, rare exclusive objects that you don't see everyday. Today everyone has an iPhone and even though it's expensive it isn't a luxury product anymore, also because people got used to their prices. No one can be impressed by a high scale phone, it's simply an everyday tool. However, the first iPhone seemed clearly unique. People who are truly impressed by iPhones are Indians, Chinese, Russians, Brazilians, and so on. Basically all the people who didn't get the official release and who are ready to pay twice the price just to pretend to be like Western citizens. So yes, I'm sure that some people who can't afford Apple products desire them, but the first customers who bought Apple for its luxury aspect aren't buying them anymore. Wealthy people were buying iPhones, their average friends saw that and spared to buy them too and than their low income friends bought them to pretend being wealthy. Then, once the wealthy customers will find something more hype, people will notice that and that's how people will quit Apple. That's how trend products are being loved and than hated.
    Nov 4, 2012. 03:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]
    Pk de cville,

    I've been buying exclusively Apple products for about 7 years now and I never had any broken devices, so I can't say that I'm not "into" Apple. I'm rather not into AAPL shares. I've been long Apple from $192 to $579. I use my PERSONAL experiences and my PERSONAL analysis of Apple as argumentation point. Saying that I'm getting paid for my comments, or that I make things up is quiet rediculous and pointless. I would prefer that you argue rather than accuse me of something that you are unable to prove.

    I've been very happy with my Apple products and the only issue I got with Jobs' Apple were on the first generation MacBook Air but they couldn't be repaired through AppleCare and they were fixed after 3-4 updates. iPhone 5 wasn't broken, it was damaged. After all the negtive reviews I read on the Internet, I don't even want to buy it for myself. I suppose it's rare to see all the glitches on one single device, however it's still disturbing. While the glitches on MacBook Pro Retina and iPad 2 are extremely common and all the people I know experience them. On iPad 2 and iPad 3 many applications don't launch at all and after a one second black screen the iPad returns to the home screen. It is annoying on free Apps and extremely disturbing on charged Apps. I had the same thing on the first iPad. I don't really understand what's a boring or exciting product. It can be functional and well designed, that's the only qualifications I need for my working tools. I agree that Apple products are extremely overpriced in Europe, but unfortunately I can't do anything about it. Now maybe Apple products are better in the US, I don't know, however when I had issues and went on the Internet I found the same topics on American and European sites, so I doubt it. Maybe American customers are easier to satisfy and they aren't getting disturbed by these misfunctions, maybe you didn't use as many Apple devices as I did and you don't see all the negative sides or maybe you simply don't want to see them, because your money is invested in Apple. Anyhow, I'm certainly not a psychologist and it's up to you to find the reason.

    Regarding Android, I simply can't stand it. I recieved a free Samsung tablet from my phone and Internet provider and I packed it in its box after 2 days of use. I hate its interface, I hate its graphics and its functionality. And yes, it has much more glitches than Apple, in my opinion. However, I can't be totally objective in my comments regarding Samsung products, because I don't like this company at all.

    I've been using Surface tablet for less than a week. It works great, didn't notice any glitches for now, however it's much more difficult to use than an iPad. It offers more usefull functionalities that I actually needed on iPad, though. Too soon to tell that there are no glitches at all, plus I'm still waiting for the Windows 8 Pro release for the Surface in Europe.
    Nov 4, 2012. 12:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]
    Dear Materialist,

    I offer people what they want and not what I would like to have. I think it's the purpose of a gift, to make the people you love happy. I personally think that iPhone 5's design is unique and it's simply beautiful. I would be very impressed by it if it was released in stead of the 4s. However, after the 4-4s scam, everyone were expecting much more. And I'm quiet shocked that you are pointing on the fact that I offered an "unimpressive" gift, rather than by the fact that I paid 840€ for a poorly manufactured product. That's what I call a biased investor.

    So again, Apple doesn't get a lot of "new" first time customers, since they don't really go in third world countries and they don't have products for low income people, accept maybe the iPods. So how many similar iPads will people buy, especially during a finacial crisis? The difference between iPad 1 and and 2 is at least noticeable, but between 2 and 3 it's very slim and between 3 and 4 it's non existent. That's why Apple can't meet analysts expectations anymore and it's going to get even harder in the near future.

    You must be one out of million who doesn't have or didn't notice any issues on iOS6. And unfortunately, it doesn't proove anything, accept that you might be lucky. There is a brand new update of iOS6 with brand new glitches. Want to try your luck?

    I think you don't really know Surface and you still criticize it. Surface is a tablet, similar to iPad but with a USB port, which make a huge difference. You can purchase a keyboard, which looks like a classic laptop keyboard and it has a laptop mouse "square". So as soon as you put your tablet on the keyboard it becomes similar to a touchscreen laptop that you can use with a laptop mouse.

    I think that Surface will do just fine. As I said before, for the first time a tablet becomes a working tool, as well as a classic tablet. On the other hand Apple is making the same mistakes as the former market leaders, by taking their customers for cash cows without giving them anything new.
    Nov 4, 2012. 06:23 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]
    R&D expenses doesn't mean anything at all... Nokia has been spending over 10 times what Apple spent in R&D during the first alf of '00 and look where it is now... Something happens to companies who have the leadership, they become less efficient, lazier and unadventurous. Basically, don't rely on R&D investments on IT market.
    Nov 3, 2012. 11:06 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]
    Dear Bart,

    Yes, that's all they did. I really doubt that anyone has been really impressed by these products, especially in Western countries. We are actually at the opposite of what happened when the first versions of these products came out. 4th generation of the first iPad, 3rd generation of iPhone 4 and some iPods that nobody really buys anymore. I was really excited to buy a MacBook Pro Retina 13", but after testing my father's 15" Retina and experiencing all the bugs it actually has, I bought the latest Air. The funny thing with Apple is that over 50% of their customers buy new versions of the devices they already have. So I'm really wondering how many iPads one person could actually buy in a lifetime. In the last quarter we all saw that Apple's strategy shows its limits. iPad sales went dramatically down and that might be the reason why Apple released a new iPad so fast.

    Now concerning the Retina display. Retina resolution has been on market for a couple of years now. HP and Acer were using these resolutions on some of their high end products. Vaio has always been pretty close and now they might make it too. Personally I find Vaio laptop 3D screen much more interesting than Retina. And of course Samsung is going to release its ultra book with a Retina-like resolution. But all that is extremely subjective. Some people might find other screens more attractive and it depends of the use. Retina is not just a resolution but a complexe setting of contrasts, colors, lights, and so on. There can be a lot of different "Retina" screen on the market, but I don't think that an average human eye could notice a difference between a super-duper HD screen and a Retina display, unless someone makes him know which screen he's actually looking at.

    If you are trying to pretend that Apple didn't have any problems with iPhone 5 manufacturing and that they didn't have to replace hundreds of thousands if not millions of devices, you must be completely disconnected of reality, since Apple acknowledged that fact. When I offered an iPhone 5 to my girlfriend 3 weeks ago, I was very embarrassed cause when she opened the box it turned out that the phone was scratched and it had obvious hit signs on the left corner. Luckly AppleCare works as fine as before and it was replaced in 4 days. AppleCare must be the only good thing, that has left since Jobs. You should also check all the negative reviews about the iOS6. I've updated my 4s to iOS6 and now I really can't wait to Lumia 920 release! My battery life went to 30h in standby mode, connectivity issues, calling issues, wifi issues, crashing issues and so on. I'm really disappointed!

    I don't really understand your point here. Apple is the company with the lowest specifications for the highest prices. They have never used latest components for their devices. For instance, MacBook Pro Retina has one of the lowest Nvidia graphic cards on the market. This kind of cards are being put on €700 PC's. So when Apple put for the first time some new chip and a fancy graphic card, simply because they couldn't find anything else to do to refresh their product, you actually call that an innovation? Well, excuse me, but your opinion is clearly biased.

    Regarding the Surface tablet, once again, it's very subjective. I like it and I bought it simply because I liked the fact that it's a working tool. I have an iPad 2 with a keyboard and I couldn't work efficiently with a touch screen and Microsoft understood that and that's why they added a mouse. Plus the iOS is really unstable, so far Windows RT seems to be much better than iOS for me. Didn't have any single bug or crash so far, unlike on iOS. So basically, I don't really care who imitates who as long as the finished product is better than the original and in Microsft's case it's not only better but it's also cheaper. Microsoft Surface has a "better than HD" screen, it might be not as good as Retina on paper, but I don't really see the difference, they are both great. If you want my opinion, Apple's new board is imitating Jobs right now, by trying to do something to get the first iPad's success back. They are clearly aren't as good in imitations as the concurrence.

    Best Regards.
    Nov 3, 2012. 10:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Innovation Is Stronger Than Ever, Valuation Very Attractive [View article]
    Dear Ashraf,

    Remember the whole buzz around the iPod, the first iPhone, the first iPad and the MacBook Air. These incredible products created new markets by their own, while everyone were saying the exact same thing - "there is no more space for innovation". Well that's the reason why Apple is getting short, they simply lost their magic. Since Jobs quit Apple about 3 years ago, all they did is releasing iPhone 4s, new iPad, iPhone 5, new iPods, iPad mini, iPad 4 and MacBook Pro Retina. They make some tiny refreshes by recycling the old models. Even the Retina display specifications are widely reproduced by concurrence. It's just that they aren't as self absorbed as Apple to make up a name for a simple screen update. But even if you consider these refreshes as being innovations you can't deny that Apple products quality is just awful nowadays. According to unofficial figures almost 30% of sold iPhone 5's have been returned to AppleCare in the first two weeks of use. Any tech company can contact Nvidia, buy their latest graphic card and put it in their device, but that's not innovation. That's what PC makers have been doing for about 15 years until Jobs came and didn't even leave them any chance to catch up. That's what could happen to Apple in the near future. Check out the Microsoft Surface tablet, that's what you can call innovation compared to the latest iPads. Surface has a USB port, it can be used as a real laptop, it has a flash player, Windows RT is simply great and the screen is at least as good as iPad's Retina. It's a perfect device for corporate world while iPads and Samsungs are just some game consoles compared to Surface. Apple's management ruined Apple, destroyed all the company's values and let the concurrence catch them up since the iPhone 4s came out.
    Nov 3, 2012. 01:59 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Cash Position Is Overstated By $70 Billion [View article]
    I have an extremely simple explanation for that - Foxconn strike, that Apple refuse to recognize. The demand is high, no doubt about that, but when the supply can't satisfy the demand, that was already forecasted as being huge even bofore the release, it's Apple's mismanagement. You can have a sold out poduct, but since you aren't able to produce enough units to reach the demand, it won't increase your revenue!
    Don't get fooled, Apple worked really badly here. First, the supply issues, a bigger screen unadapted to the iOs, photos with two black bands, microphone issues, factory scratches and so on... It doesn't wonder me that Apple is being massively shorted. Once people read the revues and get to know about all these issues, probably 10-20% of people who were supposed to buy an iPhone 5, but couldn't find one in stores, will wait for an iPhone 6, or will move to the concurrent phone makers.
    Oct 10, 2012. 01:15 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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