Pile it On: Apple, Samsung, Cash & Babies

Ken RayApple has a lot of cash, Samsung wants a lot from Apple, AT&T has a lot of iPhone users, and Apple waits a long time to shut down a company. Keeping with that theme, Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray has a lot to say about what’s going on in the world of Apple.

Apple’s Big Ol’ Money Pile
Many times when Apple adds to its billions-high cash pile Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi says Apple should give some back to shareholders, either in the form of dividends or stock buybacks.

And yet, with Apple sitting on an astronomical US$81.6 billion, Toni, Tony, Tonee’s not singing the usual song. Instead, Fortune has the analyst trying to figure out what Apple’s going to do with $7.1 billion of it. That’s how much Apple says it’s likely to spend on non-retail capital expenditures in fiscal year 2012.

What could they do with that amount? Sacconaghi says the money “could hypothetically be used to construct two modern chip fabrication facilities from scratch.” He also points out that the money “exceeds the last twelve month capital expenditure of all but three of the large technology companies (his firm) examined,” and that the money “represents a 78 percent year over year increase and more than a 9-fold increase over the last three years.”

What does he think they’ll do with it?

He thinks they’ll spend it on partner operations for Apple’s exclusive use.

Quoting his note:

The machinery will be carried on Apple’s balance sheet, and used to produce components exclusively for Apple. We do not believe the machinery is at its [original design manufacturers] (i.e. Hon Hai (parent company of Foxconn). Instead, the high level of capital expenditures points to partners in one or more areas of key component manufacturing: NAND, displays and/or processors. Likely partners include Sharp, Toshiba and Samsung.

Yes, that Samsung. Part of the same megalithic electronics-maker suing and being sued by Apple from here to eternity.

Strange bedfellows if the chips fall that way.

Speaking of which, Apple and Samsung are headed to an Australian courtroom next March. The Mac Observer says that’s when Samsung’s case seeking to block sales of the iPhone 4S down under will be heard.

Justice Annabelle Bennett says “The case will be fixed for a hearing for three weeks, commencing in March, 2012, with the date to be fixed on Friday.” The piece says Bennett is imposing no restrictions on sales of the device between now and then.

Apple, Samsung, and Love and War
Apple and Samsung are in the pre-trial discovery phase in their U.S. case of who copies who, though a piece from TechCrunch says Sammy wants to stop Apple from getting some of what it wants.

Quoting TechCrunch, “In hopes of securing evidence that even Samsung’s customers mistake its products for iPhones and iPads, Apple has requested that Samsung turn over records of customer service calls where one company’s products were confused with the other’s.”

“Eh,” says Samsung, “That sounds like work.”

According to the South Korean company, sifting through which calls are which would be too difficult. You see, Samsung claims it gets a lot of calls — and it means a lot of calls — where people praise their Samstuff and denigrate Apple kit.

Quoting Samsung’s response

For example, it is possible that Samsung customers may have contacted the call centers to comment on how they disliked their previous Apple product, but enjoy using their Samsung product. This would not be responsive to Apple’s requests, because the consumer is not expressing any confusion as to the source of the product he or she was calling about.

And so they’ve declined Apple’s request, which I’m guessing won’t stand up when the court hears Samsung’s reasoning.

Also, Samsung’s attempt to learn details of Apple’s contracts with carriers in Australia appears to have been blocked. I’ve mentioned before that the justice in the case had ordered Apple to make those details available to the Korean electronics maker, but now ZDNet Australia says the justice has said the Cupertino-company does not have to reveal details of its carrier deals.

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I am confused.

Apparently Samsung said it was looking for specific information and wanted to see the contracts to find it. Apple called Samsung’s request a “fishing expedition,” and told the court that the specific clauses for which Samsung wanted to look in the contracts didn’t exist. And that was good enough for Justice Annabelle Bennett.

According to ZDNet she “told Samsung that Apple’s assurance satisfies the request by Samsung, and she instructed the Korean company’s lawyer to drop the matter.”

Maybe Apple should just try telling her it’s not guilty of anything and see how that goes.

For the Love of AT&T
When AT&T was the only iPhone game in town, one would often hear iPhone owners say something like, “The second someone besides AT&T gets the iPhone, I’m switching.” With somewhere between two-and-a-half and three other carriers carrying the iPhone in the states, turns out people aren’t in as big a hurry to switch as they thought.

AllThingsD has Glen Lurie, AT&T’s president of emerging devices, saying that total churn — basically people who quit a carrier — has stayed pretty much the same since Verizon and Sprint and got the iPhone. According to Lurie, “Churn has not moved at all.”

I can think of only two possible reasons: People prefer the devil they know, or AT&T has really stepped up its game. Or people are… Three! Three possible reasons! People prefer the devil they know, AT&T has really stepped up its game, or people want both voice and data at the same time, something they can’t get through CDMA networks like Verizon’s and Sprint’s. Or maybe people are just… FOUR! Four possible…

Among the possible reasons of which I can think, people prefer the devil they know, AT&T has really stepped up its game, people want both voice and data at the same time — something they can’t get through CDMA-networks like Verizon’s and Sprint’s. Or maybe people are just lazy.

And I’m done trying to think of possible reasons for people staying on the Death Star.

So Long, iPod Baby
And finally today, seriously man, what the hell?

That could probably use some explanation.

There was this company back in 2006 called “iPod My Baby.” They sold T-Shirts and onesies for infants and toddlers with the iPod’s iconic click-wheel emblazoned on them. Kind of cute.

Then Apple laid down the law on companies like iPod Lounge, iPod Garage, and iPod My Baby, telling them that the names had to go.

iPod Lounge kept doing what it was doing, under the new name iLounge. iPod Garage morphed into less tech and more music, changing its name first to iProng and then to the much more accessible sounding Beat Week. And iPod My Baby changed its name to something that always kind of creeped me out. They adopted the name iPop My Baby.

I never liked the new name. But they, too, kept doing what they’d been doing, adding graphics similar to the screens of iPhones and iPod touches to the children’s ware it sells. Until this week.

PC Advisor out of the UK says, five years after making the kids clothier change its name, iPop My Baby is going out of business after Apple demanded it cease and desist.

A statement from the business says, “Apple has respectfully requested that ipopmybaby.com stop selling iPhone baby outfits.” The good news for them: Apple’s demands were not for an immediate end to its activity.

And so iPop My Baby is selling everything it’s got at 40 percent off. That’ll go on “until supplies last or December 11th, whichever comes first”.

Forcing them to shut down five years later. Seriously man, what the hell?