BusinessWeek: Apple In Best Shape In Nearly A Decade

The announcement this weekend from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that he had underwent cancer surgery has touched off a small round of State of the Apple pieces from the mainstream press. In addition to yesterdayis CNN article questioning what would happen to Apple if Mr. Jobs left, BusinessWeek has published a piece by Alex Salkever that offers an overview of the many things Apple is doing right. Mr. Salkeveris opinion is that Apple is "in its best shape in nearly a decade."

Mr. Salkever cites Appleis cash reserves of some US$4.6 billion, Appleis success in higher education, government, and portable sales to K-12 education, and of course the companyis hit iPod. Mr. Salkever also discusses the idea of whether a halo effect from the iPod could still be in the offing From BusinessWeek:

True, the "halo" effect that many analysts have predicted the iPod would create has remained elusive. Even Apple has no real evidence of consumers switching en masse from PC to Macs because of the iPodis popularity. But thereis evidence that the iPod, plus Appleis growing retail presence, is putting the Mac bug in the brain of a far broader demographic of potential customers -- including women, kids, and others who are not typical PC buyers. According to one study cited by Philip Schiller, Appleis senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing, the second-most-requested Christmas gift last year was an iPod, lagging only behind sneakers.

CROSS-PLATFORM APPEAL.? Schiller and other Apple executives say the halo effect might well take longer than the two years that iPods have been available for Windows machines. That could be key because the cross-platform iPod, more than anything else, has attracted non-Mac users to Apple stores, says Schiller. Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf says at least one-third and possibly two-thirds of the people buying iPods are PC users.

You can find the full article at BusinessWeek, and we recommend it as an interesting read.

BusinessWeek has also published three related articles today. "Appleis Back-to-School Blast" is another article from Mr. Salkever that discusses Appleis renewed market share growth in education; "No iHaloi Effect? Look Again" is a more detailed look at the above-mentioned halo effect by Peter Burrows, computer editor for BusinessWeek; and "Will Uncle Sam Like the Taste of Apple?" is an in-depth look at Appleis growing sales to government.. All three articles are interesting reads.

Spin: Itis interesting to contrast this very positive outlook on Apple with yesterdayis mostly negative piece from CNN. While this could be a case of tomahto/tomayto, we think Mr. Salkeveris overview of Apple is the far more accurate one. Not everything is perfect in Cupertino, but Apple definitely is in the best shape it has been in at least a decade, probably closer to 15 years.