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  • Why Exxon Mobil Is An 'Inevitable' Buy Now [View article]
    Sorry, my math was off from taking book value solely from per class A shares * # of class A shares. There's significantly more book value if you include the class B shares.
    Dec 11 11:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Exxon Mobil Is An 'Inevitable' Buy Now [View article]
    I'm pretty sure that Warren Buffet has less than 70% of his assets in stocks, let alone those 4. /me digs out the 2011 annual report.

    Book Value of BH in 2011 was ~ 164 billion. Of that, 76 billion was in common stocks.
    Dec 11 03:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Return On Capital Employed Is Not Sustainable [View article]
    Maybe this quarter, maybe next.

    But long term, the RCOE perspective is wrong if it leads to the product being less attractive. Apple sees having control of the CPU as being an important part of the quality of their product, going forward. And product quality is the true value add of Apple. Apple is more than a monochrome badge smacked on the front of commodity hardware, like what Dell has become.

    10 years down the line, we'll know if bringing PA-Semi and the processor design in house was a good idea. But the determining factor for if it's a good idea or not is not going to be a rate of return, it's if the processor people can keep a step or two ahead of the competition, in power, flexibility, or battery life.
    Dec 11 12:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Return On Capital Employed Is Not Sustainable [View article]
    IPod sales are down for the nth year running. DOOOOOM
    Dec 10 02:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Return On Capital Employed Is Not Sustainable [View article]
    Exactly. That's what killed Dell.

    As an additional thought, Apple has historically been on a different processor platform than everyone else (Motorola 680x0, Motorola PPC), but that platform was dependent on an outside party. When those platforms started losing the performance edge, Apple suffered, hard. I remember waiting 18 months to replace a laptop around the x86 transition time, and I wasn't the only one.

    Apple has bought some serious processor chops. They control the 'other platform' now. They can, with ~12 monthish lead time, switch between their internal platform, an external ARM platform or the Atom. They have the flexibility to have a choice of the best platform for the user experience that they want to provide.

    I guarantee you that no one in the Apple store is worried about Apple's return on equity. They're there for the combination of weight, battery life, software, and shiny that Apple provides.
    Dec 10 02:07 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An ARM-Based Mac? You Bet [View article]
    Actually, 64 bit on the client is more complicated than that, and x86 has some special legacy cases.

    First of all, the x86 registers are quite constrained, with x86_64, they added a bunch more registers. That led to 20% (ish) performance gains because the compilers had that much more freedom to keep things close to the processor.

    Second, there are client applications that definitely needed that additional address space per process. Photoshop springs instantly to mind. I don't see Apple selling a professional mac without the ability to run Photoshop. Hell, firefox is starting to run up against the per process limits.

    Third, there are some security issues as well. If you've only got 3 gigs to play with, and you need to load 2 gigs of data, there's not a lot of spare space to play games with randomizing the stack location. An attacker can much more easily fill up memory, and then jump to their code. That's a lot harder to do when you've got a 64 bit address space. See:

    Yeah, 64bit uses more memory, but memory is cheap. (16 gig is well under $100) And more memory, even if you're not using it for applications is useful for disk caching.
    Dec 5 11:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Unintended Consequences Of The Special Dividend Bubble [View article]
    Apple has a huge cash pile, but most of it is overseas. If they pay a dividend out of it, they'll have to pay corporate income tax on it first.
    Dec 4 05:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The iPhone 5 (AAPL) accounted for 68% of iPhone sales in Oct. '12, estimates research firm CIRP. That's down from the 90% claimed by the iPhone 4S in Oct. '11, and indicates a mix shift towards cheaper/lower-margin iPhones. Also: only 9% of Oct. '12 iPhone 5 sales involved very high-margin 64GB models, compared with 23% of Oct. '11 4S sales. If those numbers are accurate, they might have something to do with Apple's light FQ1 gross margin guidance (along with other things). [View news story]
    HP destroyed their reputation for quality. They got rid of lines of serious, high dollar, specialized equipment because they wanted to be a big computer maker. Unfortunately, the race for the bottom in cheap computers killed ahy chance of making money at that.

    They used to make products that were solid, worked well, and kept running forever. The laserjet3 would run forever, into 100k pages or more. Their early inkjets were far better than anyone elses, including Apple's.

    Now, their printers are cheap crap with expensive inks. Their drivers and software are horrible -- my hp works better on linux with open source drivers than on the mac with the official HP ones. The wireless never really worked, and anytime I don anything with the little screen, it asks to download a firmware update and requires me to approve the terms and conditions. Every. Single. Freaking. Time.

    Once you give up quality, you compete solely on price. HP went that route, (and a bunch of other stupid ones later), and it's nearly killed them.
    Dec 4 01:21 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • OCZ Technology Group: 200% Upside Potential In 2013 [View article]
    One example:
    Dec 1 01:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • OCZ Technology Group: 200% Upside Potential In 2013 [View article]
    That's not what I'm seeing in the feedback section. They may have gotten it down to 10% from 30%, but that's still pretty bad.
    Nov 30 07:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • OCZ Technology Group: 200% Upside Potential In 2013 [View article]
    I'd feel a lot better about OCZ if their drives didn't have the reputation of being cheap and failure prone. The two I've had died very quickly (1 doa, replacement within a week), None of my Intels have died yet.

    Looking at NewEgg, SSD drives will get either a 5 rating or a 1, depending on if they're still running and reasonably fast. The top tier SSD manufacturers, Intel, Samsung, and the like tend to get a couple percent 1* for doa. OCZ tends to be more in the 30-40% range. (I'll admit that it's a biased comparison, as people who get working drives are far less likely to post a review, but when you see 30 bad reviews out of 100, vs 2, it makes an impression.)
    Nov 30 07:05 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • An ARM-Based Mac? You Bet [View article]
    Too late to edit. I realize that bootcamp isn't a virtialization environment, but it doesn't change the problem. The mac bios isn't going to be signed by microsoft, so RT won't run.
    Nov 28 11:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An ARM-Based Mac? You Bet [View article]
    I don't buy it, for a couple of reasons.

    First, ARMs don't have a truly viable 64 bit implementation yet. There is one, but it's only shipped in the last few months, and it's not Apple's core. 32bit not too limiting to mobile yet, as no one is stuffing more than 4 gigs in a phone or tablet yet, and people are still programming them like they're resource constrained. In the desktop space though, it's really nice to be able to have a lot of addressing space to play with. (for both big programs, and to be able to do things like randomizing memory locations of code and data for security purposes.) 64 bittedness going to kick the can a few years down the road till all of that is worked out.

    Second, the two processor architecture shifts the mac has done have been from stagnating underpowered processors to new fast processors. In each case, the new processor architecture has been fast enough to credibly emulate the last model of the last generation, if not at 100% speed, something close. Given the difference in the app store model (iOS) vs the anything goes model (OSX) of what software is installed on any given machine and what people expect to be able to bring forward to their new machines, I don't see an ARM processor being usable in a mac until it can be natively way faster than a current gen x86, and approximately equivalent in emulation. I don't see that happening from gluing together multiple small ARM cores.

    [edit] That's not to say that I don't think that they have OSX running on ARM. I suspect that there's a lab somewhere in the bowels of Cupertino that has a few machines keeping everything ported. I just don't think it's going to see the light of day.
    Nov 28 11:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • An ARM-Based Mac? You Bet [View article]
    The only windows that runs on ARM is RT. RT uses a locked bios and bootloader to only run on specific hardware. Unless you can get a the virtualization environment signed by Microsoft, you're not running RT on anything other than ARM hardware.
    Nov 28 11:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. kids again want iPads for Christmas ... and so do a lot of their parents. A Nielsen survey found 48% of kids aged 6-12 and 21% of kids aged 13+ are interested in buying an iPad (AAPL) over the next 6 months. That's similar to last year's numbers. Meanwhile, an Ipsos poll found 1/3 of U.S. consumers to be interested in buying a tablet this holiday season. 25% of them want a regular iPad, 15% want a Kindle Fire, another 15% a Samsung tablet, and just 8% an iPad Mini. NPD's Richard Shim estimates Q4 North American tablet shipments will total 21.5M, easily outpacing notebook shipments of 14.6M. [View news story]
    Eh, not so much. Having both the touch and iPads, they're significantly different. Still cool, Still useful, but different.
    Nov 21 07:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment