Is Apple’s Cinderella Era Over?

  • Posted: 03 May 2002 09:22 AM

    Apple reported healthy sales and earnings for its 2nd fiscal quarter that ended in March. IDC has announced that Apple has increased its worldwide and US market share from year-earlier levels.

    The new iMac is an unqualified hit with consumers and has helped Apple to grow at a time in which worldwide PC shipments actually decreased from last year’s levels.

    Apple has returned to sustainable profitability, released a new, popular and award-winning iMac and has stowed away more than $4 billion in cash. OS X is being adopted at a quick pace now that more OS X native applications are available for designers, content creators and consumers.

    All this considered, Apple’s stock is trading again in the narrow-range of $23 - $25 per share where it has settled, with the exception of a few brief spikes above that range, for the past several weeks.

    Is Apple’s Cinderella Era Over?

    Apple has regained its position as an innovator and technology leader. But its market share in the US and worldwide remains significantly below 1996 levels. Are investors looking for more from Apple before its share price moves appreciably higher? Is Apple’s recovery such old news that award-winning products and modest market share gains no longer excite investors?

    Now that Apple has regaining its critical mass and is slowing regaining market share, are investors now looking at Apple as just another PC company that will trade in line with other PC makers?

    Has the appeal of Apple’s Cinderella story worn off despite the fact that it has one of the strongest balance sheets in the PC business and is one of the only PC companies to show actual growth in market share and unit sales in the last quarter?

    What’s your view? Please sound off in this thread.

    Robert

         
  • Posted: 30 April 2002 07:40 AM #1

    To get Apple higher we must as a group find some way to get through to Apple to raise its awareness of what users really want:

    1. VirtualPC demo on all machines
    2. Complete compatibility on G3 supported machines of all the hardware on those G3 supported machines in Mac OS X. 
    3. Make it easier to become an authorized support technician or make house calls a reality in all major cities for all repairs of computers.
    4. Tradeup program to newer machines when we want them.
    5. Appleworks on Powermac and Powerbook models.
    6. Better software selection for Macs at places like Circuit City, Office Depot, Staples, Walmart, and Costco.  Even if they don’t sell Macs directly, at least there should be a full Mac software section since not everyone has a credit card to purchase Mac software.
    7. Sell the eMac to general public and not just education
    8. Put a 56k modem on the base eMac model.
    9. Include sound input port on Flat Panel iMac and PowerMac G4.
    10. Fix the nVidia flash card issue, offer free ATI card exchange until
    problem is fixed.
    11. Upgrade all USB ports on all machines to USB 2.0.
    12. Fix the power issues on USB ports so that it doesn’t matter which port
    is used for bus powered and wall powered USB devices.
    13. Fix the power issues with Firewire in Mac OS X preventing daisy chaining of Firewire devices.  Make Mac OS X more Firewire hot plugging aware, sometimes it takes up to 4 tries to get it to hot plug my Firewire hard drive.
    14. Stop using Mhz on machine specs.  It is that simple.  If you don’t
    believe Mhz matters, don’t use it.  And don’t show Mhz in Apple System Profiler or hardware test CD.  Only list GFs (short for Gigaflops so no one will know it is flops). 
    15. Get CPU Scorecard.com to benchmark your machines accurately.  Right now it shows many Macs as slower than certain PCs when they really aren’t.
    16. Seek out reviewers who bash the Mac and give them all a free demonstration of the power of the Mac.  They did it with David Coursey, they need to do it with others.
    17. Track the firmware version used by Flat Panel iMac users who report in problems to Apple support, and offer the firmware on the web that has the least problems.  There are about 4 different firmware versions floating out there since the first release.
    18. Get ViaVoice or Macspeech to be on par with L & H speech dictation software and working in Mac OS X.  The features of Macspeech and Viavoice are a far cry from what’s available on the Windows dictation software.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: gopher on 2002-04-30 10:47 ]</font>

         
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    Posted: 03 May 2002 09:22 AM #2

    I disagree gopher. I think there is a difference between the consumer mindset and the Investor mindset.

    Everything you suggested are geared towards winning over customers, which is certainly a good thing, but it won’t necessarily give Apple’s stock that kick.

    To my admittedly untrained eye, Investors aren’t as interested in sustained profit as they are in growth potential: A company that is stable doesn’t return your investment: it simply remains stable for a long period of time. Investors are more interested in seeing a return on their investment quickly. The only way to do that is growth.

    When Jobs returned, and came out with a string of successes, investors saw that as the key to winning back consumers, and taking back desktop share from Windows. When that push stalled out with various problems with the lineup (the G4 speed choke, the Cube, the transition to MacOS X). Apple’s stock had been split during that $50-60 high, so the current values aren’t that far off it’s height. Because APple has lost that momentum, investors aren’t as interested in Apple’s growth potential as they were with the initial turnaround.

    If Apple really wants to boost stock, they simply need to prove they have a significant growth avenue: something major, stunning and revolutionary that will open untapped markets for them. A strong announcement, followed by quick success will probably send the stock shooting upwards again. Simply building better machines won’t have as much impact; you can only be the top of the heap for so long, and thanks to the rapid adoption of new tech by Apple’s competitors, any numerical advantage held by Apple can’t last long.

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  • Posted: 07 May 2002 10:02 AM #3

    but a lot of what they also need *is* public awareness of what the Macs can do.  since i became “converted”, i have learned a lot of what my iMac can and can’t do (mostly can smile  ) that i didn’t know before.  and have had to look hard to find some of the software i want that i had on my pc.  and i am keeping my pc for some of the games i can’t find otherwise

    and now i find that many (most) of the people i talk to about computers have no idea that macs and wintel machines can share files, that they are not totally incompatible, that macs can surf the internet (no kidding!! - i have run across that attitude), and that wintel viruses (virii?) are not compatible with the macs (for the most part), etc.  i could go on for a while, but i’m sure most of you have run across the same attitudes.

    so educating the general public that Apple is not dying, and that Macs are compatible with other machines is a necessary part of raising both sales and stock price (IMHO).

    and maybe someday, those of us forced to use windows at work will be offered a choice in platform because i.t. dept just might figure out that the different systems will talk to each other

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