Is Apple In Good Shape?

from the ok,-I'll-toss-you-one dept

Okay. Now that I’m getting trashed again for my “anti-Apple” post earlier today, I’ll toss you an easy one. Business Week has a whole collection of articles about Apple which are mostly positive. They point out that Apple is doing well, and might start to gain market share. OS X is a good product, and the new iMacs look cool. Okay? Are you all happy now? Personally, I think that Apple gets way too much attention for all of this, but the new machines (and the OS) sure look nice. I just think they’re too focused on themselves. I’m willing to take a wait-and-see attitude with them and see how they execute with their new offerings.

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Comments on “Is Apple In Good Shape?”

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Dale Gardner says:

Thrashing? What Thrashing??

That was aimed at Hellweg – of course, if you’re going to start calling people zealots, I may have to reconsider. Thanks for pointing out the Business Week articles – a much more balanced presentation of the company’s fortunes.

Regarding the niche approach to the market, be sure to see Charles Haddad’s column in the Business Week package – it’s from October, but the analysis is much more based in reality.

Your comment about how Apple gets too much attention for design wins, combined with the observation that they’re really cool goes right to the heart of the matter. Of course they get lots of attention – that’s the point. You have to view this from a marketing perspective, not technology. Happily, not everybody wants the same thing and Apple has identified a profitable (Haddad says >30% gross margins) market segment they can address. How does that put them at risk of irrelevance?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Thrashing? What Thrashing??

Heh. The thrashing comment was a joke, due to my completely unjustified reputation for being a “Mac hater”.

I do agree with a lot of the points you’re making. I personally have nothing against Apple, but I think the articles about the state of their business or what they do are very interesting, simply because it seems that no one has a really good idea of what Apple should be.

The real risk that I think everybody is trying to get at is the idea that, despite their cool products, they lose out on the “difference” factor (no matter how much Apple hoped to win points by promoting that fact). While Apple has been able to hold a core group of loyal users together for a while (and slowly may be winning some others over), they haven’t done much that has actually increased market share over the past few years – which could be a threat. If people continue to perceive Macs as “different” and therefore in some ways more difficult or costly to own and operate (even if that’s just due to a learning curve) they could lose out. Sure, the difference is what attracts some people, but it could just as easily turn off major buyers as well.

While Apple may show some profit margin on the product, keeping it is the real trick. If they can’t grow market share, then their costs begin to eat up that margin, and it makes it much more difficult for Apple to survive. They did lose money last year, remember…

msykes says:

Re: Re: Re: Thrashing? What Thrashing??

I think Apple’s in good shape (biased as I am)… but mostly because of the new OS… not because of the hardware. People love mac hardware… but I’ve rarely had someone want to switch because of it. Now, I know at least 5 Windows/Linux types who are thinking of switching to the Mac just because of Mac OSX. Before you know it Apple will be 7% of the market!!!!!


Dale Gardner says:

Re: Re: Thrashing? What Thrashing??

No one has a good idea of what Apple should be? On the contrary, -everybody- has an opinion of what Apple should be, even if it’s just the Borg boys who think it should be dead and buried. Not sure I understand your comment on how they lose out on the ‘difference’ factor. I think I disagree.

In any event, for fun, I’d suggest Apple has – at least – four segments it can pursue.

1) Education: traditional stronghold, iBooks seem to be playing well, and – although there are an increased number of Windows servers, they all play well together.

2) Creatives: Another traditional strength, although at some risk – delay in extending faster systems, and an anti-X backlash. I keep coming across people who will give up OS 9 and below when you pry their cold, dead hands off the keyboard. Hmmm…

3) Consumers: Digital hub, lot’s of potential growth, but must learn to compete against traditional consumer electronics players.

4) Style-Driven: People who could just as well buy a windows machine, but who think they’re ugly/unpleasant/conflict with their suit.etc.

Lot’s of opportunities – and more than a few risks.

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