Apple, Tim Cook and losing credibility

“Certainly Wall Street was very unimpressed. Despite record sales for the iPhone and the iPad, and surprisingly robust sales for Macs, Apple’s stock price nose-dived on Tuesday,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Is that just a knee-jerk reaction, or will it signal yet another trend? Did the lower-than-expected guidance contribute to renewed concerns about Apple?”

“Well, outspoken investor Carl Icahn has made it clear that he, at least, has confidence in Apple, since he invested yet another $500 million into the company. Or maybe he was taking advantage of what he perceived to be a bargain price for shares,” Steinberg writes. “Now when it comes to Tim Cook, do his responses about Apple’s perceived sales and revenue shortcomings ring true?”

“One area that is sounding like a broken record, though, is Cook’s insistence that Apple’s ability to innovate remains intact, that there will be great products going forward this year, including some in new categories. That would seem quite encouraging, other than the fact that he’s said it again and again,” Steinberg writes. “Apple will face even greater pressure this year to produce something truly unique… You see, just product refreshes for 2014 will do nothing to vindicate Cook’s claim, no matter how good they are.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Is Apple ready to disrupt yet another industry? – January 28, 2014

42 Comments

  1. Hope Apple can successfully come up with a new wow thing then Apple can grow again .
    Apple has already successfully earned the max profit in tablet and smartphone industry in the fastest way no other competitors can come close .

    1. Wall Street most definitely won’t recognise the next wow thing when it happens. Absolutely every new product category has been greeted by criticism and prophecies of doom when Apple revealed it. I have no reason to believe that the next big thing won’t also be widely reported as being ill-conceived … and then go on to become another huge success.

        1. Stupid article from Tech Night Owl – if they had done their homework they would have seen that the stock has behaved exactly the same for 20 years! When under Jobs’ insanely great leadership and he reported a good quarter, the stock tanked. This is not a reflection of stupid Apple management – it is a reflection of stupid Wall Street!

          1. Too bad they couldn’t buy back all their shares and go private, and end the Wall Street insanity once and for all. Wall Street has NEVER got what Apple is all about, because Jobs saw that the generally accepted metrics (i.e., market share) weren’t the only way to play the game, he went for profit share and the street just doesn’t get the significance of that choice.

      1. Sadly you may be right. If they reacted like that with SJ in command I dread to think what the reaction will be in his wake. Apple will have to work hard to make any next big thing a real success because any perceived failure will be crucified. Which is why the lack of real developments in widening the appeal of the iPhone at least (apart from the relatively lame 5c) seem so strange to me.

    2. Heh… Icahn made a bad trade… he should have bought after earnings report… he should stop asking for buy backs and be better at buying the dips…

      in other news, no one at Apple is worried… they just keep developing devices that people never thought they needed. At the same time, they have a market to grow into… as Samsung has flooded the market… their smartphone growth will slow…

          1. Hey spyintheskyuk, hope you are doing well. You are absolutely right to a degree, it allows them to quietly move to areas (like Africa) without too much notice for now.

            Still it does work both ways and there is a lot of localized friction in that area between countries that could work the same way.

            Unless we destroy, or learn to get along, or get sent away to an island far away from, or become our neighbors.

      1. Ampar… Ampar… Ampar… Ampar… Ampar… Where art thou Ampar?

        Long time no see, please proffer upon us one of your incisive and perceptive thoughts.

        You are well missed!

    1. You have all the things to do in the world, and you do this? You are lucky. You could have taken you talents to a real college instead, while people like me had to go to Stanley Harvik Institute of Technology, a vocational school for those that were either poor, or had a disability. Let me put it this way: It was free and worth every penny! They did not have the class that I wanted (music) so I was stuck with “custodial studies”. janitorial course wasn’t much to go there for,
      believe me! Twenty weeks of cleaning the shitters and the pool locker rooms
      could drive anyone insane. The bogs were always clogged with shit and paper
      wads and other horrendous stuff. It’s a nasty sort of job. The school itself could have been better, but a few things were wrong with the place.
      Most of the people there were weirdos, and thankfully, I don’t go there anymore. We had enough to send me to a real university for 2 years.
      Just be thankful for what you got, and don’t waste it, because YOU will regret it. Think twice before you troll, mmkay?

  2. Cook diatribes are getting a bit old. Wall Street hated Jobs too and punished the stock and Jobs. Apple does move slower than we would like but they tend to get it right. The iPad Air and iPad Mini are great examples. The same thing will occur with a larger iPhone and the iWatch.

    1. They will complain and moan that Apple has lost its innovative edge right up until the Next Big Thing is revealed. Then they will start picking it apart and predicting its failure due to high price, missing features, poor specs, wrong size, etc. until the NBT is actually shipped and retail sales begin. Then they will complain and moan because Apple did not build up enough inventory of the NBT and it becomes in short supply after just a few days. Somehow, despite the early inventory sell out that breaks previous records (by Apple, of course), they still manage to conclude that it is a failure. Shortly thereafter, rumors of competitor’s product responses to the NBT will be hyped across all of the media. Despite the fact that Apple is actually selling the real NBT in large numbers, the fear of MBT competition from vaporware will be used as rationale for downgrading NBT sales predictions for upcoming quarters. After a month or two, Apple begins to balance supply and demand and reduce shipping delays. But that won’t stop the moaners and complainers from arguing that Apple is not initiating the worldwide rollout of the NBT quickly enough. Given the “near-certainty” that competitors vaporware will somehow saturate international markets before the NBT becomes available, NBT sales predictions are again downgraded. This is despite the massive amount of gray market sales in those same countries. Apple then releases sales numbers at its quarterly conference call. If the numbers fall below the inflated consensus estimate, then all of the analysts pat themselves on the back for their prior skepticism of Apple. If Apple meets the consensus estimate, then it is still somehow construed as a failure. Apple should always exceed expectations. If Apple crushes the consensus estimate, then analysts attempt to discredit the results and predict a rapid quarter-to-quarter slide in sales of the NBT after the initial group of “rabid, first-adopter, Apple lemming/fanatics get their tech fix. Regardless, Apple is doomed and the NBT is a failure. Would-be competitors finally release devices that mysteriously closely resemble the MBT in nearly every respect, even though these “innovative” companies claim to have been working on their designs for years before Apple released the NBT. Some of them even beat Apple’s selling price for the NBT, primarily by adding plastic and eliminating the possibility of ever making a profit from hardware sales. Analysts and pundits hail the competitors products as breakthroughs and superior to the NBT in various ways, thus justifying another downgrade of NBT sales predictions for Apple. They conveniently ignore the rapidly growing NBT unit sales during the first few quarters after its release. Surely the NBT downturn is just around the corner. About a year after the release of the original NBT, Apple releases a greatly refined and improved version. Many people complain that it is just an incremental improvement rather than a revolutionary one. When is the last time that Apple actually produced a truly innovative, “game-changing” product? Clearly the NBT is not really that innovative…after all, many of Apple’s competitors already have their own versions of the NBT on the market and are gaining market share. Competitors also begin hyping new vaporware products – wearable items, NFC capabilities…it really doesn’t matter. Those rumors just serve to justify the fervently held belief that Apple’s days as a consumer technology powerhouse are numbered. Its dominance is in decline. They begin to complain and moan that Apple has lost its innovative edge…

      1. I see you have been paying exceedingly close attention. I rather think this one post alone could fuel numerous academic dissertations for years to come, or generate Pulitzers for investigative reporting. Consider yourself scrapbooked, KingMel.

  3. You know what actually is starting to sound like a broken record? Assholes with no sense of history trying to tell us about “Apple’s lack of innovation” when none of these fucking clowns saw any of the previous innovation coming. The same chorus of ignoramuses that dismissed and/or denigrated all of Apple releases at the time they were unveiled because they couldn’t see the market for them are now going to try to explain to us how innovation is somehow on a regular release cycle like it was Nickelback albums. So just for the record, anyone in the tech press complaining about Apple’s stock price should shut the fuck up already and their articles should be ignored, and anyone in the financial press complaining about innovation should also shut the fuck up and their articles should be ignored.

    1. The sad thing is that MDN is dangerously close to being lumped into this group. This hate-on they have for Cook is obvious and is getting tiresome, offering faint praise when he shines and raising holy hell when the ‘analysts’ raise a manipulative stink. I have infinitely more faith in the people Steve Jobs left in charge to run Apple than these lame brains who wouldn’t know innovation if it bit them in the ass. Does the latter group include you now, MDN?

  4. With all due respect to Cook, he’s got to roll out some better products with much more urgency. With notable exceptions, everything Cook has released has been late, poorly received, or otherwise not appreciated by customers. Apple needs to communicate better with its users. For years now, people have been asking for Apple TV to be more than just a hobby. iPhone users want more hardware options, preferably in adult colors. iOS users want more user control. OS X fans want new apps to be a step forward out of the gate, not a free downgrade. Video enthusiasts want some 4K displays. The list is long, and it’s only natural for people to ask why Apple isn’t at the forefront in all these areas. It has the resources, but Apple is moving remarkably slowly on many of these fronts. Anytime the MacRumors buyer guide is lit up red, you know Cook & Co are coasting too long between product introductions. Apple offers twice the number of product categories it did a decade ago, but it holds fewer new product release events per year. Undersung improved products like Airport, Apple doesn’t even tout them at all. Serious lack of communication there. Cook should be doing a lot better, and that’s why Wall Street isn’t recommending strong buy for AAPL anymore. Cook just doesn’t inspire strong growth at all.

    1. Apparently, you have no idea how Apple’s model works. There is no such think as late. They release when products are ready.

      Poorly received and appreciated? According to whom? They just sold 51 million iPhones in 3 months. That is almost 7 iPhones sold EVERY SECOND in addition to the more than 3 iPads they sold per second. Add iPods and you’re looking at a million devices sold per day in a single vertical product category all running that TERRIBLE iOS you speak of.

      The core philosophy of Apple is to do a FEW things and do them right. They are not Samsung. They will not be making your next microwave.

      Please come back when you have any sort of informed perspective.

      1. I just let the veiled attack drop. You have no clue what I do and don’t know.

        Apple just posted the lowest growth rate of any smartphone manufacturer. You can’t spin that into a happy story. Wall Street gambles on horses that are going to win future profits, and Apple is not keeping up pace. Apple’s profits are largely boosted by the App store, which of course has nothing to do with Cook’s leadership. It would be rather hard to screw that up.

        Cook himself admitted the iPhone 5C did not sell as well as anticipated. Your statistics sound great, but this is a planet of 7 billion people and most of them are NOT choosing iOS as a platform. That may be fine, as MDN regulars point out regularly, but Apple’s inability to grow sales at the same rate as other smartphone makers is troubling. … and no, i’m not counting dumb phones, so don’t keep making excuses for Cook’s uninspired performance.

        1. “Wall Street gambles on horses that are going to win future profits…”

          How screwed up is this? What company on this planet has been more consistent at posting extraordinary profits year after year than Apple? What are people smoking these days? Truly tiresome…

          1. I agree with you, but that’s indeed how Wall Street operates. Record earnings today mean nothing. Everything is rated in terms of future projections compared to the competition. That’s why Cook’s “nice guy” image is doing Apple no favors. If he isn’t competing head to head on practically every emerging tech front, then AAPL will continue to be pushed down. Cook needs to speed up the innovation — or at least the corporate communication — back to what it was 5 years ago. A major product announcement every quarter at least.

            1. Did Steve Jobs have Apple competing in every major product category? No. They released the iPod in 2001, iterated it, and didn’t have another breakthrough product until 2007 with the phone. They have been iterating the phone for 6 years now. 2010 they released the iPad.

              How does that equate to a groundbreaking product every quarter?

            2. The iPod was released in a different market. It’s not 2001 anymore.
              Cook has $150b in the bank while Apple’s core competences erode.
              Here’s a partial list:-
              Finder: So far past its sell by date is absurd. Bugs and missing features remain after decades. It annoys and confuses noobs (UI is perversely unintuitive, eg: you can click to select one item, then drag another without the highlight changing…) AND also frustrates veterans by being uncustomizable and limiting.
              Mail: Bug ridden (still) with amateurish features and spam filtering that simply doesn’t work.
              iTunes. STILL clunky and outdated. Confusing UI that has not been substanially updated since Apple bought it in 2000.
              Contacts/Calendar: Rudimentary features and bad design. No dev will touch this stuff with a killer ‘Outlook’ level app because Apple is so flaky, both with dreadfully unreliable cloud sync and the unfortunate propensity to add/remove/change its sync methods without warning.
              Aperture: The app is now so far behind Lightroom it’s crazy. And this in a field Apple should outright own. Such a shame.
              FCPX: No matter what Apple adds now, it’s too late. My FCP7 buddy laughs when I mention it. It’ll take years for the damage that the FCPX debacle inflicted to be be repaired.
              iLife: Years of neglect followed by a feature gutting of the apps has taken its toll. iMovie is appallingly clunky and unreliable and the one bright spot, Garageband just got ‘FCPXed’. Nice. Apps like iPhoto have been dumbed down to match their namesakes on iOS but do not interact with those versions in any way. O_o
              iWork: Same thing, the catch is Apple courts office professionals with this garbage and expects to be taken seriously after ripping out features those very people relied on to do their jobs.
              NOT the way to engender trust.
              Go ahead, read the reviews of these apps. It’s a travesty that a company so wealthy produces this stuff.
              Yamaha manages to produce many and varied products, and yet the company’s name is byword for reliability and quality. My Yamaha bass is a great instrument.
              Sorry, it IS possible to have a large portfolio AND high quality.
              Apple has no excuse.

        2. C’mon Mike. A single company. One million products a DAY. Apple is the business of making money. As you say, Wall Street is in the business of betting on horses.

          Disappointing Wall Street’s expectations is second to making money in any sane CEO’s book. You want to make money off of Apple’s stock? Sell some of it, like your Wall Street heroes are doing.

          A record sales quarter. Early in the year and reiterated promises of entering new product categories. You unhappy about that then go suck on your thumb for a few months. I’m willing to let them get more than a month into 2014.

  5. I’d be happy if they just stop coming out with software that pisses everybody [with a brain] off. (I just threw that ‘brain’ part in there for the you-know-whos.) It’s getting old hearing how ‘amazing’, ‘incredible’, and ‘fantastic’ everything is GOING to be when the current stuff has so many bugs that take MONTHS to fix…if at all. They need a bug report system like open software products so we can see what they are working on, instead of just having a feedback black hole. And when some wide-spread problem starts making the rounds all they have to say is, “We see it. We’re on it.” I don’t care if they don’t tell us what’s next, but it’s kind of insulting to treat your customers like they don’t know a problem when they see one.

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