Evercore Loves the M2, the DoJ Goes After Google and More

The Daily Observations

One financial type loves Apple’s M2, the DoJ goes after Google, and Apple ushers in Data Privacy Day. 

Evercore: M2 Improvements Will Keep Mac Market Share Growing

New Macs launched on Tuesday, and at least one financial analyst thinks they’re worth writing to investors about. Just over a week ago Apple announced updates for the MacBook Pro line, as well as a new Mac mini. The updates included (and were practically limited to) the headless Mac getting an M2 or an M2 Pro processor inside, while the laptops got fitted with either an M2 Pro or an M2 Max. 

New Macs don’t always move the needle for financial analysts, though these two did for Evercore’s Amit Daryanani. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note he wrote. The post starts by pointing out the great run the Mac has had over the last several years:

…growing at a 9% [compound annual growth rate] since 2017, including 23% growth in FY21 and 14% growth in FY22. Mac performance in the Sept-qtr was particularly notable with revenue up 25% at a time when most other PC makers are reporting steep declines.

So yeah — good up to now, and the better processors have kept making it better. Daryanani and crew think the “significant outperformance of the M-Series chips vs. competitors has likely been a key driver of this success…” Still, this year is what it is. Bullish though he may be on Apple, Daryanani thinks Mac revenue will “decline in FY23 as the broader PC market deals with a minor ‘hangover’ effect from the strong demand over the past couple of years…” Not unlike last year though, other PC makers will do worse. That’ll leave Apple to “continue to pick up share in both the consumer and enterprise market in FY23 and beyond,” in Evercore’s estimation. 

He sums up saying:

The unmatched performance of the M-Series chips provides Apple with a notable advantage over its competitors in the market and we think share gains will be further compounded by the enterprise market as young workers who are more familiar Mac increasingly make their preferences known.

Mr. Daryanani has an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $190.

DoJ Sues Google Over Digital Ads Dominance

When it comes to big tech, it’s seemed for the last few years that the U.S. government has been all bark and no bite. The DoJ found its bite on Tuesday. A piece from TechCrunch says the U.S. Department of Justice has brought suit against Google for alleged antitrust violations. According to the agency, Google’s presence in online advertising is so big that it amounts to “monopoly control of the digital ad market.” 

The piece says eight states have joined the DoJ in its suit, including California and New York. “Together,” the piece says, “they aim to ‘halt Google’s anticompetitive scheme, unwind Google’s monopolistic grip on the market, and restore competition to digital advertising.’”

That “scheme,” as the plaintiffs call it, goes back about 15-years — back to when Google bought DoubleClick in 2008. According to the litigants, that purchase:

…vaulted Google into a commanding position over the tools publishers use to sell advertising opportunities, complementing Google’s existing tool for advertisers, Google Ads, and set the stage for Google’s later exclusionary conduct across the ad tech industry.

Ever since, they say:

Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.

In response, Google issued a statement, saying:

[The] DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow. 

Additionally, the company has said in the past that the digital ad space is crowded with competitors, listing Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft among them. Plus, TechCrunch points out that TikTok and Instacart are things now — things that have actually eaten into the digital ad space.  

And thus beings a years long story. 

IAB Accuses Apple of ‘Hypocrisy’ Over App Tracking Transparency

Whether intentionally timed or just fortuitous, a bit of what-aboutism from a Google-fied group on Tuesday. The group is the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). A piece from MacRumors says the IAB:

…is an organization that develops standards to be used across the industry to control and regulate online advertising. It has Google, Meta, Adobe, and many other companies as members.

Now David Cohen, CEO of the IAB, has accused Apple of “hypocrisy” and “cynicism” over its implementation of App Tracking Transparency. 

You know how apps and advertisers used to be able to track an iOS user’s activity across other apps and the web without the user’s knowledge? App Tracking Transparency changed the game a bit. With it, apps and advertisers could still track an iOS user’s activity across other apps and the web. They just had to get the user’s permission first. 

The audacity! And Mr. Cohen takes umbrage, saying: 

…while there are no shortage of extremists attacking our industry from the outside, there are some attacking it from the inside out. Most notably, Apple exemplifies the cynicism and hypocrisy that underpins the prevailing extremist view.

So, who are the extremists? The people who want to know when their activity is being monitored, or somebody else? 

As for the hypocrisy, Cohen says it’s not right that Apple can track its own users while apps (and advertisers) have to ask for permission. According to Cohen, “It can’t be that ‘personalization’ in the Apple ecosystem equals ‘tracking’ outside of it… That’s not really a fair fight.”

It’s also not the same thing, but… you know. Rhetoric. 

Apple’s Lobbying Spend in 2022 Hits New Company Record

Apple seems to have played the politics game pretty hard last year. 9to5Mac cites a CNBC report that had the Cupertino-company upping its lobbying spend in a pretty big way in 2022. A lot of that was aimed against the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, though other issues were addressed by the dollars. 

The piece has public disclosures indicating a 44% increase in lobbying spend by Apple in 2022 versus 2021. That put the Cupertino-company at the back of the pack in terms of big tech lobbyists, though close to some other heavy hitters. According to the report:

  • Apple spent $9.4 million for all of 2022, “a record for the company”
  • Microsoft’s spent $9.8 million 
  • Google spent $10.9 million.
  • Meta spent $19.2 million
  • Amazon spent $19.7 million

As for the issues addressed, 9to5Mac says:

Apple’s filing lists eight lobbyists on antitrust issues, a higher number than for any other issue – though the company included lobbying on LGBTQ issues under the same heading.

Apple Announces New Initiatives Around Data Privacy Day

Saturday is Data Privacy Day, though Apple is getting a jump on it. The Cupertino-company issued a press release Tuesday talking about importance of data privacy, the company’s commitment to it, and announcing a couple of initiatives around it. One is a comedic presentation called “A Day in the Life of an Average Person’s Data.” It stars Ted Lasso’s Nick Mohammed as the average person who’s data we’re following — or who’s data we’re trying to keep from being followed. It’s not only informative on some of the ways the average user’s data can be tracked, it also gives easy to follow tips on how to lock your data down. 

Plus, Nick Mohammed not being evil. Kind of cool. 

The other big initiative is a new Today at Apple session devoted entirely to data privacy. “Beginning Saturday,” says Apple:

…a new Today at Apple session, “Taking Charge of Your Privacy on iPhone,” will explore features including Mail Privacy Protection, Safety Check, Location Services, and passkeys. In this session, attendees will learn how they can customize each feature based on their individual privacy preferences.

You can find one of the sessions near you at apple.com/today. As for protecting “Nate the Great’s” data, you can see “A Day in the Life of an Average Person’s Data” in Apple’s online newsroom or on YouTube

Apple TV+ Picks Up Two Academy Award Nominations

And finally today, Apple’s not looking at another CODA year at this year’s academy awards, though the company does have a shot at a couple of trophies. Cult of Mac says Apple TV+ has been nominated for two Academy Awards. 

Brian Tyree Henry has been nominated for best supporting actor for his part in Causeway. That’s the Jennifer Lawrence film wherein she stars as a wounded Afghanistan vet, forced to return to her hometown and trying to redeploy. Personally, I’m surprised she wasn’t nominated for Best Actress, but nobody asked me.

The other nomination went to the Apple TV+ Christmas Day release, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse. It has been nominated for Best Short Film (Animated). 

While a number of sites expressed surprise that the Will Smith starer/Antoine Fuqua-directed Emancipation garnered no nominations, I’m not sure anyone was actually surprised. Rather, it’s notable that it picked up no nominations despite the film’s apparent Oscar push. 

You can peep the full list of 2023 nominees on the Academy’s site. The awards will go to whom they will go on Sunday, March 12. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO writer Nick deCourville joins me to talk over Apple’s two Academy Award nominated titles. Plus — Yesterday was a big anniversary for the Mac, leaving Nick and me to ponder old Mac memories. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

One thought on “Evercore Loves the M2, the DoJ Goes After Google and More

  • Ken:

    Google’s manipulation (ranking) and dominance (prioritisation algorithms) of advertisements can be plausibly, and likely successfully, prosecuted as anticompetitive. This fits, from this layperson’s perspective, the classic definition of market manipulation and anticompetitive dominance designed to favour one’s position and to eliminate competition in a general competitive market.

    This is quite distinct from allegations (and possible lawsuits) aimed at Apple about the levying of fees and the control of payment systems in their App Store, which is a proprietary platform. The argument being made by the EU, and apparently the US Senate, is that Apple’s (and Google’s) platforms are synonymous with the market itself, define it, and leave insufficient marketshare beyond their respective scopes to constitute a competitive marketplace. In short, these deny either the legality of a platform as a proprietary entity over which a corporation can exercise control (impose rules of engagement, including the imposition of fees) or the right of individuals to seek such protected walled gardens as a security/privacy enclave where third party behaviour is subordinated to user rights to said security and privacy.

    I know I keep saying this, but time permitting, I sincerely hope to be able to address this theme in greater detail, as I think that there is an argument to made that these legislative bodies, in objecting to proprietary platform control, violate the balancing test of greater social good over harm, and in a word, is simply wrong.

    If only I can find a sec.

    A sec! A sec! My column for a sec!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.