Japan’s Nikkei, The Wall Street Journal blow it, get iPhone demand story all wrong

“A decade ago, MTV debuted a show called Punk’d in which Ashton Kutcher would play elaborate practical jokes on celebrities before the big reveal at the end of each episode,” Mark Rogowsky reports for Forbes. “While the setup isn’t quite the same, it’s possible that Japan’s Nikkei played the role of Kutcher this Sunday and the Wall Street Journal acted as the duped celebrity with a breathless report suggesting iPhone orders are about to fall off a cliff.”

“It started when the Journal reported: ‘Apple’s orders for iPhone 5 screens for the first quarter, for example, have dropped to roughly half of what the company had planned to order, the people said.”’ What’s missing from that quote, however, is what Nikkei originally included and can still be found on Reuters (although no longer on WSJ ): ‘Apple has asked Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display Co Ltd to roughly halve supplies of LCD panels from an initial plan for about 65 million screens in January-March, the Nikkei cited people familiar with the situation as saying,'” Rogowsky reports. “And that 65 million number we know is completely absurd.”

That didn’t stop “a credulous WSJ from running the story as front-page news just eight days ahead of Apple’s Jan. 23 earnings announcement,” Rogowsky reports. “It’s pile-on season for the Cupertino, Calif. consumer-electronics giant, which has apparently ‘lost its edge’ according to most everything you read these days. It’s an interesting spin given that the company sold 37 million iPhones in the [2011] holiday quarter… and even the lowest end of the forecast would be a 20 percent boost to that number. (At 50 million, year-over-year growth would be 35 percent.)”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s a snippet from the WSJ‘s yarn:

Apple Inc. has cut its component orders for the iPhone 5 because of weaker-than-expected demand, people familiar with the situation said Monday, indicating sales of the latest smartphone haven’t been as strong as anticipated… Japan’s Nikkei reported Monday that Apple has slashed its orders for iPhone 5 components.Juro Osawa, The Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2013

We questioned this “weaker-than-expected-demand” bearshit conclusion that was initiated in the Nikkei FUD and repeated ad nauseam in the days afterward the second we read it. Why didn’t The Wall Street Journal?

We are left with five questions:

• Who planted the FUD at Nikkei?
• How much money did they make, if indeed they did make any money?
• Who approved the publication of this poorly-sourced, unsubstantiated, rife-with-speculation tale at the WSJ?
• How much money did they make, if indeed they did make any money?
• Just how much noise will the SEC sleep through?

Contact info:
— Editorial Inquiries at Nikkei.com: ecntct@nikkei.co.jp
— Juro Osawa: juro.osawa@wsj.com
— WSJ Letters to the Editor: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Doug W.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Did Apple reduce 4-inch Retina display orders due to improving yields? – January 15, 2013
Analysts: iPhone 5 demand ‘robust;’ ignore the non-news noise – January 15, 2013
Apple iPhone suppliers decline on report orders cut by 50% – January 15, 2013
Apple swoon erases $17 billion from stock market – January 14, 2013
Apple iPhone 5 production cut signaling a new product release? – January 14, 2013
Apple drops to 11-month low on old reports of component cuts – January 14, 2013
The strange math of Apple’s alleged massive iPhone 5 component cuts – January 14, 2013
UBS analysts: Apple iPhone component order reduction ‘old news’ – January 14, 2013
Apple pulls down U.S. futures – January 14, 2013
Apple shares drop below $500 after reported cuts in iPhone 5 parts orders – January 14, 2013


  1. Heads should roll. Whatever happened to responsible journalism? REALLY?! How dumb does the WSJ have to be without totally questioning their sources? Has everything become just a rumor mill without a worry abouts facts, just unapologetic sensational headline grabbing & web baiting BS?

    1. The WSJ has always been über conservative, and now that Murdoch has control, it is a tabloid financial news source and nothing more.

      The NYT is a faux “liberal” paper that does a great job of gate-keeping.

      1. @Arnold Ziffel,
        You don’t know what you’re talking about. The NEWS coverage at WSJ has historically been liberal/left of center. Only the OPINION/EDITORIAL pages have leaned conservative/libertarian. Buy a clue.

    1. The trouble with all tails is that they all have shit stuck to them bacause they are attached to assholes.

      When will investors learn to equivocate anal-ists to tails and avoid them?

  2. After reading too many of these, “let’s bash Apple, because we can” articles, I have to wonder how many people are involved in manipulating the market to keep Apple stock, so low. I mean, how can a company that outperforms its rivals in almost every metric, be such a mediocre performer on the market, unless something’s afoot? Who or what is behind this ongoing atrocity!

    1. Herd mentality, same thing happened with Galileo who said that the earth rotated around the sun, no one believed him. Conversely Hitler said Jews and Blacks were subhumane (obviously he never hung out with Anustralians) and a whole bunch of people believed him. It’s astonishing how the herd mentality works, and once you do, well you can profit greatly from it.

      1. ‘Moo moo’ says the cow.
        ‘Bah bah’ says the sheep.

        If people aren’t willing to think for themselves, they reduce themselves to mere cattle. And of course there is always someone willing to drive the cattle to market and feed them into the abattoir. 😯

  3. Why is it that everyone holds the WSJ up as some paragon of journalistic integrity? And, it’s not just Murdoch ownership either.
    The WSJ has ALWAYS had their agenda, and they’ve always carried it out. It is the newspaper of capitalism, spewing stories that do one thing; keep markets churning. They don’t care about “truth” or “fact”. Capitalism’s biggest PR firm is just another rag.

  4. The SEC should get off their butts and investigate this one. Clearly it had an impact on Apple stock. We all knew this was nonsense, but to the outside investor community who can be naive at times, it was news that had an impact on investor decision-making.

  5. There are two kind of “analyst” in WS:
    First one is the kind who sees dog shit and they think the only way it could get there is if a dog pho there, they are so limited that they never think some body could trow it there, it fell from a garbage bag, the wind place there, and so on.

    The second one, is the one who sees a child with a candy and in order to take it away form the child, he tells him that the candy is contaminated with something so once the child trows away the candy, this second analyst will pick it up and clean it and use it.

  6. Wow, the stock of the Wall Street Journal must be going through the roof. Maybe that article will win the Putzer prize for friction. Let’s see more of these articles WSJ, get your stock price way up there…don’t worry about the SEC, just write up a piece on how effective they are.

  7. B$ about Apple has been ongoing for decades. Idiots have been proclaiming “Apple is dead” or “Apple is about to die” for decades. A true seasoned Apple person ignores all the B$ and simply enjoys using Apple products. Ceaseless attacks on Apple is normal status. Ignore the armies of idiots.

  8. I never trust any information with the terms:
    Sources familiar with, Sources that know, Sources that contacts in, Sources not authorized, supplier checks, or any other such none sense. Which is most of the garbage sold as financial news these days. By the time you wade through the muck that you get bombarding you what you find is planted made up BS that means nothing. The so, called reporters and analyst just pull numbers, information and out of their arses, then the other news media and analysts just repeat the made up crap. Hitler’s Big Lie Theory used by Richard Belzer who defines The Big Lie, in his book UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have To Be Crazy To Believe, this way: “If you tell a lie that’s big enough, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you are telling the truth, even when what you are saying is total crap.”

  9. Why does Wall Street, and the WSJ, love to hate Apple so much – what is the deal? It’s been this way for decades.

    “• Just how much noise will the SEC sleep through?”

    I think this is and will be a question with a telling answer.

Reader Feedback

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