Sporting Google Glass in the NYC flagship Apple store - #BLASPHEMY!

The video below is my introduction to Google Glass. As I wear it around NYC getting used to it, I offer feedback from the everyday consumer on the street as well as the investment perspective behind it.

Google has almost consistently outgrown the adoption rate of web advertising. What does this mean? Well, it means that although Web advertising is getting bigger and more popular as a slice of the total advertising pie, Google is getting even bigger and more dominant in the space – not less. Google is beating competition back even as the market grows! 

Google ad growth

Subscribers, click the following links for my updated price targets on Google (click here to subscribe) and read  Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?:

The biggest risks to these price points are:

  1. A market that's being levitated by central bank magicians running short on magic spells...
  2. Regulatory pressure, which I feel is quite material and inevitable, but will not be a major factor in the near term. 
Published in BoomBustBlog
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 04:35

Apple Bonds Proven To Have A Nasty Taste

bite money

The Financial Times reports Apple bonds lose 9% in six weeks:

Investors are nursing losses of up to 9 per cent on Apple’s record-breaking $17bn bond offering, less than six weeks after the securities landed in their portfolios.

The technology giant tapped the white-hot bond market for the largest debt fundraising to date on April 30, but a sharp turn in interest rates has caused a sell-off in corporate bonds and wiped hundreds of millions of dollars off the value of the offering.

Apple sold $3bn of bonds maturing in 2043, locking in a low interest rate of 3.9 per cent for the next 30 years, but the market price of these bonds had fallen to 90.36 per cent of face value in late trading on Monday, according to Trace data.

Investors in the offering paid 99.418 per cent of face value for the new bonds, but institutional and retail demand was so high that they traded as high as 101.97 in the secondary market.

 

The debt sale was one of the most frenzied on Wall Street for many years and there were three times as many orders as there were bonds available. Issues by companies with high credit ratings have been among the hottest fixed-income investments because the interest they provide outstrips the meagre yield available on government securities.

Hmmm.. So-called "investors" need to look to the future, not the present, when deploying their capital. These so-called "investors" are definitely not subscribers to BoomBustBlogLast month I posed the query, "Is It Time To Buy Apple As A Valuation Play? The Contrarian That Called The Top In Apple Weighs In". After all, it had fallen over 40% from its recent all time high, a fall which I clearly told subscribers would come. This question is quite pertinent, both for Apple's long term viability and its short to medium term investors. Case in point, Apple's (rather astute) management saw it fit to lock in 3.9% 30 year funding rates. Kudos! A very smart move... For them! The buyers of these bonds (an offering that was 3x oversubscribed, may I add) obviously did not subscribe to BoomBustBlog. Let's count the reasons why such an offering was both ill timed, and ill priced.

The Apple Profit Engine Has Stalled & Is Rolling Downhill

Apple is facing a shart decline in the margins of its top two value drivers. May I also add that these two value drivers are 83% of Apple's revenues and an even greater portion of its profits. Such a drastic concentration in only two products who have reached their zenith is not a good thing!

Click the graphic once to view, twice to enlarge to printer quality...

Reggie Middletonss Ultimate Apple Value Infographic

Apple's Competition Is The Greatest It Has EVER Been!

Apple's competition is the greatest it has ever been, and features companies who are literally at the top of their game. We are talking a lot of companies, and at the top of a very difficiult game as well. Reference What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

Apple is Materially & Quickly Losing Global Market Share! Clear Indicators Of Permanent Downward Moves In Its Peer Group

Apple is rapidly losing global market share over and the trend is worsening. This has ALWAYS signaled the beginning of the end for its peers. Reference Is Tim Cook Cooked? Market Share vs Profit Margin, part 2 - Follow What I Do, Not What I Say!

We Clearly & Obviously Ending A 3 Decade Bull Market, Likely At The Tail End Of The Largest Global ZIRP Experiment Ever!

And this final aspect is the kicker. We are likely culminating the end of a three decade secular bull market in bonds. Why in the world would anyone want to buy debt now, in a good, bad or mediocore company? Reference a chart of ten year rates over time, and you will see that once you get this close to zero (and the applied end to excessive ZIRP), there's no way to go but up. As excerpted from the Market Realist site:

For those who don't subscribe and/or haven't already seen it, here is the video that tells (nearly) all about Apple, from beginning (Q3 2010) to end.

Of course, there is a point at which Apple is a good buy. After all, they have a lot going for them. The question du jour is, exactly what is that point? I refer my subscribers to the research documents below for the answers... 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescient!

Published in BoomBustBlog

archangel vs demonToday Reuters reports Samsung Electronics loses $12 billion market value on smartphone worries while yesterday Barron's reports Apple, Samsung Sees Weakening Smartphone Sales. You know, reading BoomBustBlog is like reading the pre-eminent news sources of the world, just 3 months into the future. March 7, 2013, BoomBustBlog posts Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing, Just Like Blackberry & Apple - Courtesy Of Google, #MarginCompression!

I'm preparing a brief report for my subscribers to illustrate a potentially highly skewered risk vs reward opportunity for equity investors in the tech space. It's borne from the battle for mobile computing supremacy, opportunity lies with more than just Google! As a recap, now that Google Has Officially Gone On Record To Confirm Reggie Middleton's "Negative Margin Business Model" Tactics used to cut Apple's, et. al. margins down to size, most observers are just getting a taste of what BoomBustBloggers have known for years, ie. Blackberries, Apples & Fruit Borne Successitis - The Problem With Excess Profits Is Hubristic Management Tends To Take Eyes Off The Prize!!! As I have said several times, it's not just he high flying fruit names that will see #MarginCompression in the upcoming years, though. Remember, I proclaim smartphone hardware vendors are dead! Google's recent comments support that assertion, as well as recent market activity. If that's the case, then what happens to Google's hardware and OEM partners for Android? Well, even the most popular one's may succumb... Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing, Just Like Blackberry & Apple - Courtesy Of Google, #MarginCompression!

What's Samsung to do? Well, if you haven't realized it yet, Samsung management is highly astute. They shoved Apple a fat one, and don't think they will take Google's marginaliztion of their core revenue and profit drivers (now, smartphones) lying down. Of course, as I mentioned in the above-linked article, Samsung's margins are already slipping - even as its revenues and profits rise. This is a dangerous sign that Nokia, HTC, Blackberry and Apple ignored  (and I warned years in advanced for the "fruit" companies -  Blackberries, Apples & Fruit Borne Successitis). Apparently, someone at Samsung reads my blog, for they have decided to take the battle to the cloud to compete with Google. 

How would they do such, you ask? Well, in order to compete with Google you'd need data... LOT's of DATA! Where in the world would Samsung get that much data, enough to compete with world's current shepherd of global data? Well, here's the crib notes answer. Samsung has sold over 220 million phones thus far. It has sold over 120 million "S" series smartphones (the higher end smart phones with extended capabilities) and about 20 million of its current high end flagship, the "S4". Each of these phones contain an array of sensors which measure and collect vast amounts of data about you and from around you. The higher end the phone, the more advanced and plentiful the sensors. Here's what last year's Samsung tech look liked...

phone sensors

That's a lot of stuff! Samsung is most assuredly gathering data through all of those little portals. Take a look at how many "what're you doing now, where, and how?" sensors are in its new flagship phone...

gs4hidden

They're probably going to be up to 125 to 150 million of these little privacy pits walking around by this time next year. Imagine the type of data that Samsung can amass in the cloud if it just executed with the slightest modicum of competence!!!

Google, the modern day master of the cloud is releasing a phone with even more sensors and more interactive intelligence. It was previously known as the Motorola X Phone, but is now called the Moto X. Gotta Be Mobile broke it down just as well as I would:

Google executives have been underplaying the potent power of Motorola Mobility’s X Phone, which has was recently referred to as the Moto X, but the device could signify trouble for dominant smartphone-makers Apple and Samsung.

You betcha!

The Price is Right

Google had aggressively priced its Nexus devices in the past to come with competitive specs and a very competitive price. And even with the Nexus devices, the specs may not be bleeding edge compared to rival flagships, but Google offered nice trade-offs with pricing and an unlocked strategy. Likely, the Moto X Phone will be priced aggressively and carrier subsidies will make Motorola a good bet for those looking to upgrade.

Hitting the Competition Where It Hurts

Where the X Phone really is important is its pricing strategy. Google has demonstrated that its Asus-made Nexus 7 tablet with a $200 price point could dominate the smaller form factor tablet market. With the X Phone, Google could deliver a better than decent phone experience and change the market.

Apple and Samsung, which are known to be the biggest winners in the smartphone industry and share the bulk of the market’s profits, will have to price their flagships down to compete against Google. Since the Nexus 7 debuted, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series have seen prices dropping from when the slates first debuted.

For Samsung and other smartphone hardware companies, selling a product at or near cost may not make sense. For Google, this strategy is effective, as it doesn’t need to profit on hardware–it just wants to sell you another portal so that you’d want to use Google services. It’s like Gillette giving away free razors so you’ll buy the blades later, or HP handing away free printers so you’ll get the ink cartridges when you run out.

So on the surface, the Motorola X Phone may not wow you with its mid-range specs, but it will be an industry game changer where it matters: a good user experience with solid specs, pricing that’s affordable, a mainstream distribution strategy, and forcing industry pricing downward.

And my #MarginCompression thesis marches on into the mainstream!

Appealing to Your “Senses”

One area that Motorola’s new head Dennis Woodside had hinted to was a sensor network for Motorola’s future phone. Woodisde had stated that the company has been applying what it learned about always-on sensors and low power consumption as a result of the Motorola MOTO ACTV sports watch, and those battery-lengthening technologies could allow Motorola to construct a phone with more sensors.

motoactv-press-shotConsumers would benefit from graphs and analysis of the distance they walked or drove in any given day, the changing temperatures, and other information that embedded sensor networks may provide.

Google, on the other hand, could benefit if it could find meaning in the information it collects to improve its anticipatory Google Now search. It’s a win-win on both ends.

And given Google Now, a service, is a big draw to Android right now given how well it works in presenting data it learns about users in a meaningful way, the experience may be best experienced on a Motorola phone given the added sensors and data that Now could collect, process, and learn.

Just Plain Smart

At the end of the day, your smartphone experience isn’t about having the fastest and best specs on the market. It’s about the device being smarter, more agile and nimble to anticipate your needs and deliver you information as you need it.

And today, with cloud services, specs increasingly don’t matter on a phone. You no longer need a powerful phone to edit photos thanks to new Google photo and editing cloud services through Google+. As services move to the cloud, an entry level smartphone could become just as powerful as a high-end model, just with less cost.

Google is in a good position to start the next mobile revolution through its large Internet empire, and given the right pricing, the Motorola X Phone could be an invaluable, affordable gem that has the power to change the industry.

Then there's always Google Glass - the game changerIn closing, let me excerpt from Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing, Just Like Blackberry & Apple - Courtesy Of Google, #MarginCompression!.

So, you ask, "How is it that hardware is dead?" Well....

    1. The open source OS paradigm calls for rapidly improving hardware specs at ever lower prices. I have pointed to evidence of this above, as these Asian OEMs produce ever better product at ever lower prices - just like the old school PC industry. This drives Google's info-centric business model which is why Google pushes free Android.
    2. After years of outsourcing manufacturing tech and IP integration to low cost labor Asian countries, those countries have found a way to produce trinkets of their own. Of limited quality and value so you say? Well, remember the iPhone is a Chinese phone, through and through -at least Chinese built. So now you argue, it's American designed, just Chinese made! Please peruse the Oppo Finder 5, a phone that's drastically superior to the iPhone 5 in practically every single way, retailing for $100 less than the cheapest iPhone 5 made. Low cost, low margin products combined with Google's free OS will drive the price of hardware down to near zero, if not negative. Google even has its own hardware arm now (Motorola) to facilitate this downward march in margins and prices. Suppose Google decides to create best of breed Nexus devices and give them away just below cost? Imagine the best smartphone available in the world, unlocked, without a contract, for the cost of a single monthly wireless phone payment??? Google's Nexus program is acting as a training ground to teach Google's Motorola division to build best of breed! Google's biggest and most successful partner - Samsung, is an Asian company. Samsung Electronics of South Korea reported today that its quarterly profit  jumped 76%, as its Galaxy smartphones beat rival Apple's iPhone in each quarter of 2012. What many seem to have missed is that EBITDA, Operating and Gross margins all slipped QonQ though. A sign of things to come??? Remember, Google benefits most when the barriers to access information are least. Reference "Cost Shifting Your Way To Prominence Using The Network Effect, Or Google Wins - Apple, RIM & Microsoft Have ALREADY LOST!" as well as my videos below...

Samsung is also currently Google's biggest threat. This (soon to be combative) symbiotic relationship is akin to the relationship that Samsung had with Apple. Competitors, yet symbiotic partner/clients. Samsung and Google are poised to have a slugfest. Their relationship is similar to that of Samsung and Apple, with Samsung being the Apple in this case. Apple is highly reliant upon Samsung for memory and processor chips, and screens. Although Apple is the biggest Samsung client, it's by far not the only one and the Chinese manufacturers are up and coming.

Subscribers, click the following links for my updated price targets on Google (click here to subscribe) and read  Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?:

The biggest risks to these price points are:

  1. A market that's being levitated by central bank magicians running short on magic spells...
  2. Regulatory pressure, which I feel is quite material and inevitable, but will not be a major factor in the near term. 

For those interested in a long position in Apple, see 

Published in BoomBustBlog

TMO-Verizon-Head-to-Head Legal-approved FINAL-smallI received several letters in response to my Deadbeat Carrier Series. Here are a few, along with my responses to them.

Reggie, I found what I think are some flaws in your carrier monthly cost numbers in your "Deadbeat Carriers Compete" blog posting. First the biggest flaw is that the $70 T-Mobile plan does NOT include unlimited hot spot service. It only includes 500mb of hot spot service. You can read it on this link from T-Mobile.com. http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/plans/individual-plans.aspx I couldn't find the cost of 10gb of data including hot spot service but obviously it's going to be more than $70/month.

This is only a problem if you do not embrace Android as your default OS, and Android 4.2.2 is quite capable of doing so for over 85% of computer users. See the video below...

Second, where are you getting the costs for AT&T? I went to their website and they don't have minute plans that go up to 6000 minutes. Their individual plans are 450 minutes for $40, 900 minutes for $60 and unlimited minutes for $70 then you can add $20 for unlimited messaging. The data plans on the individual plans only go up to $50 for 5gb which includes hot spot service. They also have AT&T Mobile Share with unlimited talk and text plans which reduces the cost greatly from what you listed. Their 10gb mobile share plan costs $120/month and a single smartphone with that plan costs $30/month and you can use the hot spot service at that plan for no additional cost (I confirmed this with AT&T) so the total is $150/month (not $200 as you indicated).

AT&T has modified their pricing since I created the model, but the pricing has changed, not necessarily gotten cheaper. They effectively charge $10 per gigabyte for data, $70 for unlimited voice and $20 for unlimited texts. So 10 GB of data would be $100, and voice and text would be $90 combined - adding up to $190 before taxes, surcharges and fees which would add another nearly 20% on the price or roughly $220 total - as compared with T-Mobile whose package would be about $76 - all in (only sales tax is added in with pre-paid plans)! If one were to compare T-Mobile to the Mobile Share plan, there's still a big discrepancy for the reader forgot to include surcharges, fees and taxes - again another nearly 20% tacked on, so we're talking $180 per month, and that's just with 10 gigs of data use. If one were to use 40 gigs like me, then you'd add another $36 per month on that - or roughly $216 which is pretty much where we started in the first place.

Lastly, where are you getting the costs for Verizon? Again, they appear to be way off. Verizon's share everything plan with 10gb of data costs $100/month and then you add $40/month for single smartphone (with unlimited voice minutes and messages) and you can use the hot spot service at that plan for no additional cost so the total cost is $140/month (not $240/month as you indicated). I'm looking forward to your response. Thanks.

Again, the author is comparing family share plans to the single plan that was used in the model. Even so, Verizon pricing is far from a bargain. Let's look closely at the numbers he provided. Verizon is charging the same as AT&T, $10 per gig, but charging more for the handset service @ $40. If one where to use 40 gigs per month, that would be $400 per month plus $40 for the handset plus the nearly 20% in taxes, fees and surcharges - all told over $500 per month, compared to the flat $76 from T-Mobile. Even if you used half the data, your looking at about $280.

My next gift is your ability to generate your own chart with your own wasted wireless carrier dollar expenditures. Check it out..

As I said, deadbeat carriers. Here's some more mails...

Reggie, Good postings. One of the reasons why I'm switching off from AT&T very shortly and going to T-Mobile. They just have the same offerings for a LOT less. Isn't that what things were all about in the beginning before AT&T and Verizon slowly increased their prices and plans? On top of that one of the T-Mobile MVNO's, Solavei, has been on the market for just under a year now I believe and Solavei offers things for $49 "ünlimited." They're main offering is working it into a MLM/referral-based program where a few referrals can chop the bill to 0 or make a few bucks. Worst case it's good for a while before that program crashes possibly, then just jump back to T-Mobile (or other pre-paid style plans that offer nearly the same data and specs for less) Keep up the good work.

And here's another one...

Reggie,

To point one in the direction of "future" in the US, it probably suffices to point one in the direction of some carriers in Europe. Particularly these from Estonia. Sample plans here: https://www.emt.ee/en/internet-telefonishttps://www.elisa.ee/et/Eraklient/mint-mobiilis/562/MiNT-mobiilipaketid (use google translate), https://pood.tele2.ee/et/serviceplans/572 (use google translate).
Or some examples: 
    1. 10€/month for unlimited data at 3.5 Mbps (Elisa)
    2. 5€/month for unlimited data at 1 Mbps (Elisa)
    3. 11.95€/month for 30 GB of data at 6 Mbps (Tele2)
    4. My current plan from EMT: €38/month for a family plan with 4 phones, 400 minutes (unlimited calling between the family phones), text, unlimited internet on 2 of the phones.
Additionally the country (Estonia) is pretty much 100% covered - you get high-speed internet in the thickest of forests from all of the carriers.
When comparing these plans with anything considered "normal" in the US ($300-$400 for a similar 4-person family plan from US Cellular with white areas in every valley between moderate hills), it's clear that there's a very, very long way for the US providers yet to go. It's simply amazing how much US customers are paying for the little amount of services they are actually getting!
All the best,

So, what does this all mean? Google's Android will become much more pervasive as Web access becomes cheaper. It also means that the Wintel duopoly is primed to potentially be toppled. Take note that Intel is now supporting Android and system makers are adopting it. Android is rich enough to replace windows for many, and believe it or not in this short period of it's exisitence I believe Android has surpassed Windows in active users. What happens when the power of Intel Core I7 chips are pushing Android? I'm sure Microsoft doesn't want to know!

Published in BoomBustBlog

applecutsabreandriod3d

On Thursday, 12 August 2010 I penned . In said piece I unequivocally detailed the process and mechanism with which Google would systematically slash the profitability of the fat-margined OEM hardware and software vendors. I was the ultimate contrarian at this time for there was not a single well known analyst, investor or media personality that espoused a similar viewpoint. Apple was the "the next big thing" at that time.

This time last year I took time to go into detail in regards to how Google is able to go about this...

Eariler this year, I delved even deeper into the details of how Google will cut the fat-margined companies (read as Apple, et. al.) off at the knees!

As coincidence would have it, Google management has now come out in public with affirmation of the business model that I have attributed to them these last few years, as reported today by the Financial Times on their front page.

Google is preparing an attack on Apple’s iPhone with a device that is more aware of its surroundings and smart enough to anticipate how it will be used next, according to the head of the internet company’s Motorola subsidiary.

The gadget, called the Moto X, will be made in the US and will be part of a campaign to drive down the cost of smartphones and end the high profit margins companies such as Apple have enjoyed, said Dennis Woodside, the Google executive installed to run Motorola after it was acquired in late 2011.

Mr Woodside’s comments, made at the D11 conference in southern California, marked the first official confirmation by Google that it would launch a “hero” phone, or flagship handset capable of competing with devices such as the iPhone and Samsung’s S4.

I have also said on several occasions that the current market sweetheart, Samsung, is not immune to the hardware margin compression woes. As a matter of fact, no hardware vendor in this segment is. It's quite evident now that Google's plans for Motorola is precisely to drive down the margins of all OEM vendors - even their Android partners who are also competitors. A complex relationship, eh? Let's face it, Smartphone Hardware Manufacturers Are Dead, Long Live The Google-like Solution Providers (and Computer Hardware Vendors Are Dead, Part Deux!). I commented on the predicament that Samsung is in now as it reaps increasingly large profits, just like Apple did - Samsung Will Be Ready To Do That Fruit Thing, Just Like Blackberry & Apple - Courtesy Of Google, #MarginCompression!

Mr Woodside hinted that the new handset would go on sale later this year and be priced well below the iPhone 5, adding that the sort of steep price declines seen in consumer electronics from personal computers to televisions were overdue in the smartphone market.

Without naming the iPhone directly, he said: “Those products earn 50 per cent margins. We don’t necessarily have those constraints. Those [margins] will not persist.”

... He added that Google was confident that the device, which will be “broadly distributed”, would be a big seller because “the experiences are unlike other experiences out there.”

For those who actually think that Apple's share price can afford such a battlle, I bring you this graphic from "Is It Time To Buy Apple As A Valuation Play? The Contrarian That Called The Top In Apple Weighs In"

Click the graphic once to view, twice to enlarge to printer quality...

 Reggie Middletonss Ultimate Apple Value Infographic

Putting stock market performances aside, the question du jour is, "Is this negative margin attack working?". Quick answer, hell yeah! I opined on margins by means of the market share vs profit share debate over the last two days, reference"

  1. Blackberries, Apples & Fruit Borne Successitis - The Problem With Excess Profits Is Hubristic Management Tends To Take Eyes Off The Prize!!! and
  2. Is Tim Cook Cooked? Market Share vs Profit Margin, part 2 - Follow What I Do, Not What I Say!

This strategem employed by Google was visible at its onset and could have been mitigated had Apple been less greedy in terms of short term profits (it was one of the, if not the most profitable companies in the world) and gunned for ubiquitous distribution. You see, over time, every company's margins get cut. The pertinent question and the inflection point into the next paradigm centers around the next logical questions, "Will you be the one to cut your own margins or will you allow your competitors do it for you?"

As long as the market leader actively and religiously cuts its own margins it essentially trades incremental profit margin for incremental market share growth. From a long term cash flow perspective, it actually averages out to about the same. The problem is if you fail to cut margins often and early, you reap large cash flows in the beginning of the cycle to forgo them through margin compression towards the middle and end of the cycle, characterized by market share loss at the onst.

I've been using Blackberry as an example of this...

Blackberry market share vs margin correlation analysis 

All of the former tech titans and market leaders have fallen the same way - Nokia, HTC, DEC, Polariod, etc.

Related reading:

Google Q2 2013 Update: Valuing Possibly The Most Powerful Co. In The World?

Is It Time To Buy Apple As A Valuation Play? The Contrarian That Called The Top In Apple Weighs In

Short Term Gain Brings About Long Term Pain? A Roadmap To Apple's Resurgence That Management Is Ignoring!!!

See also: Math and the Pace of Smart Phone Innovation May Take a Byte Out of Apple’s (Short-lived?) Dominance

For paying subscribers only:

Recent Apple Valuation Reports

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

Recent Google Valuation Reports

Published in BoomBustBlog

Tim Cook was in the media yesterday weighing in on market share. It's as if he is in a delirium, that is if you believe his words, which I don't. He states that for Apple, quality is more important than quantity (or something of that sort). As per Endgadget:

Apple's head honcho Tim Cook is chatting up Android's growth explosion, and it turns out he's not flustered. "Do I look at that? Of course, I don't have my head stuck in the sand," said Cook." But for us, winning has never been about having the most." Instead, he stands by the old Apple line of quality versus quantity. "Arguably, we make the best PC, but we don't make the most," he added. "We made the best music player, and we wound up making the most -- but we didn't initially."

Mr. Cook is ignoring his own ex-boss's words. For those who didn't read my piece yesterday, "Blackberries, Apples & Fruit Borne Successitis - The Problem With Excess Profits Is Hubristic Management Tends To Take Eyes Off The Prize!!!", I quote:

What ruined Apple was not growth … They got very greedy … Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible … they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years. What this cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share.

You see, my post yesterday clearly showed that the financial metrics, over time and in handset companies, heavily favor market share over initial profit margin. As a matter of fact, I demonstrated that as market share decreases margins drop commensurately, or in other words "Quantity is quality in a fast moving, technologically dynamic market!"

In early 2010 I warned on Blackberry (then RIMM), with market share loss to Android being the prime determinant... . I put significant data out in the public domain to illustrate my point and put explicit price points out for subscribers, ie. RIM Smart Phone Market Share, RIP? Was I right?

Blackberry market share vs margin correlation analysisBlackberry market share vs margin correlation analysis

The has been the case with IBM, Nokia, Dell, HTC, Apple, Blackberry, etc. Mr. Cook, take the advice of Mr. Jobs if you don't wish to follow Mr. Middleton. I actually do believe that Cook understands these dynamics and is just putting on a dog and pony show for the media but his corporate actions don't bear this out. I strongly suggest they start spending that $174B cash horde on something other than massaging hedge funds.

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So, does Mr. Cook's lack of adherence to Steve Jobs wisdom portend a potentially uber-successful company misunderstood by the markets (meaning time to buy stock) or is this the beginning of the end of an iconic corporate era?

I refer my subscribers to the research documents below for the answers... 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call - October 2012, the month of Apple's all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

Published in BoomBustBlog

 posts Apple & Samsung's "Profit Share" Trap on Tech Thoughts blog:

Smartphone "Profit Share"

Over the past few days, there has been a lot of noise in the tech media about the supremacy of "profit share" over "market share", specifically related to Apple's performance in the smartphone market (but it can be extended to Samsung as well). Most proponents of this argument seem to fundamentally misunderstand the long-term relevance of the "profit share" metric.

Exactly! I've been preaching this mantra since the beginning of my coverage of the mobile computing sector. Let's recap...

In early 2010 I warned on Blackberry (then RIMM), with market share loss to Android being the prime determinant... . I put significant data out in the public domain to illustrate my point and put explicit price points out for subscribers, ie. RIM Smart Phone Market Share, RIP? Was I right?

Blackberry market share vs margin correlation analysis

I explained this in detail in the post "Cost Shifting Your Way To Prominence Using The Network Effect, Or Google Wins - Apple, RIM & Microsoft Have ALREADY LOST!". Failure to achieve the network effect effective is tantamount to a failure to be able to control you margins, long term. Of all people to of know this, who do you think preached it most convincingly? Take note:

What ruined Apple was not growth … They got very greedy … Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible … they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years. What this cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share.

Who did I just quote? None other than the RDF Chief in Charge, Steve Jobs (circa 1995 Forbes interview)! So, if he was able to see what happened to his baby in the '90s, what happened in the new millennium? I certainly warned it would happen again, see this three year old article - A Glimpse of the BoomBustBlog Internal Discussion Concerning the Fate of Apple. In Apple on the Margin I showed the margin fade coming ahead of time, as well as in the following references:

  1. More of the Android Onslaught: Increasing Handset Revenues and Growth 

So,Apple's top management knew how this worked. I knew how this worked. What happened? Who the hell cares, a short is a short. Next up was the contrarian call of the decade, but it took very little intelligence and as much as I'd like to claim credit for being a genius... all  you had to do was watch the trend.

$34,852,564,500 - That's How Much BoomBustBlog's Apple Research Was Worth Today!

So, now the question remains, "Is Apple a steal at these prices?" Well Doug Kass seems to think so (Doug Kass: 4 Reasons Apple Is Turning Around - CNBCand I'd love to discuss this with him on air or, or both! This was discussed here in detail - Is It Time To Buy Apple As A Valuation Play? The Contrarian That Called The Top In Apple Weighs In.

I refer my subscribers to the research documents below for the answers... 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call - October 2012, the month of Apple's all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

Published in BoomBustBlog

 I have personally tested the T-Mobile LTE service in a NYC subway (the 42nd street station) using what is currently the best (big brand) mobile handset available, the LG Optimus G Pro.

20130522 140401 3799

The speeds I attained are phenomenal for a cell phone. This combo is more than capable of replacing a small business or home network Internet connection through FiOS or AT&T.

This is a similar LTE speed test performed in the AT&T store in Union Square, NYC.

20130522 143033 26462

The majority of my work is now done off of smart phones, so I know this stuff fairly well. AT&T charges roughly 3x what T-Mobile would charge for about 31GB of bandwidth use, while T-Mobile delivered 2.5x the speed. Now, T-Mobile's network is not under load yet, and results can vary by location, weather, yada, yada... Long story short, if T-Mobile continues to focus on being a pure play pipe provider, AT&T and Verizon will need to get their shit together!!!

T-Mobile, if they play their cards right, can truly shake up the industry. If you did not already know, T-Mobile has eliminated carrier subsidies of handsets and has instead given a 0% APR (allegedly, although an implied rate could be built into the price of the hardware) loan to have the user pay for the device directly, and has reduced the price of its plans commensurately. T-Mobile has also dropped contract requirements totally and has made a big push into its pre-paid plans with an offer of unlimited data. It is this option that makes a lot of sense for power users and techies. Today's Android phones (ex. the LG Optimus G Pro) have more than enough oomph to power an office - and I mean it. I actually do it.

With a 14 - 32mbs always on connection, you can fully replace Microsoft Office, your overpriced DSL, FiOS, AT&T, etc. connection, and your overpriced cell phone carrier with a single phone, some inexpensive peripherals and a single $70 per month ($76 with all taxes and fees included) T-Mobile plan.

This is a very big deal, for if consumers start using their heads and pull out a calculator or two, AT&T and Verizon have an awful lot of price slashing to do, and the likes of the pretty but considerably less functional OEMs such as Apple have a lot of R&D and production ramping to do as well.

You have heard me predict this in the past.

April and May 2012 I opined on the carriers

US Cellular Carriers Are At Risk Of Being Marginalized Into Nothingness Unless They Learn To Think Outside The Box... Yesterday

The Death Of The Deadbeat Carriers, Part 2 

This week I opined on Apple, et. al.

Is It Time To Buy Apple As A Valuation Play

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

Of course, this doesn't look to good for Microsoft or Intel, for the Android camp is encroaching on the Wintel camp much faster than the Wintel camp is returning the favor. 

I have a lot of thoughts and ideas circling these developments. Institutional and professional subscribers (click here to subscribe) are welcomed to email or call me to discuss this further.

Published in BoomBustBlog

All who have followed me over the last three years know I've taken a very strong stance on the mobile computing wars, their prospective winners, losers and the benefits/pitfalls to be had from such intense competition. Outside of possibly Goldman Sachs, the most controversial, blindly beloved company that I've called a short on was Apple. Now that I think of it, Apple has Goldman beat hands down. After first warning of impending margin compression with 18 quarters of October 2010, I've been reviled by every fanboi this side of the Valley. Now, it's vogue to say #MarginCompression!

For those who are not the type to pay for analysis, the following video and graphic contains everything you'd ever want to know about Apple past, present and potentially future. For those of you who are willing to pay for quality analysis, I answer the question that should be on everyone's mind, "Is it time to now buy Apple as a deep value play?" After all, the move that I've warned about has came and gone, or has it. Subscribers, see download links at the bottom of this article.

Click the graphic once to view, twice to enlarge to printer quality...

 Reggie Middletonss Ultimate Apple Value Infographic

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven't read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn't Understand About Apple - It's Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call - October 2012, the month of Apple's all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made - Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All

This crux of that article was to debunk the widely assumed notion that I was bearish on Apple's share price for 2 years. The reality of the matter was that the paid research and opinion clearly supported much of Apple's share price until right about the last earnings report and release of the iPhone 5, until I notably went bearish and Apple promptly lost 35%, or about 4 Dells with a LinkedIn thrown in to boot...

apple stock and front month options

Published in BoomBustBlog

Note: New research is available for subscribers at the bottom of this article.

This research report is going to be a bit different. As you know, I chose Google as my stock pick in the 2nd Annual CNBC Stock Draft – after winning it last year with Google. This (as with most of my public moves) proved to be both contrarian and controversial. There were other companies to choose from (which I will share with my subscribers over the upcoming weeks), but do to my father passing away and the fact that I run a subscription service, I did not have the time parse a pick that wasn't the purview of my subscription service.

Alas, Google will do just fine and I believe it has a very strong future – as long as the stock as long as the market doesn’t come crashing back to reality!

As per Google’s CEO, they “had a really strong start to 2013, with Q1 revenue up 31% year-on-year to $14 billion.” This tends to overshadow the real strength in Google’s performance, and that is its very significant investment in future products and innovations. Again, as per the CEO, “Over the last two years, we worked hard to increase our velocity, improve our execution, and focus on the big bets that will make a difference in the world.”

If you remember Apple’s Siri, you remember a microcosm of the universe in which Apple and Google exist, complete with their strengths and weaknesses. Apple is a marketing behemoth, but their engineering lacking in relation to their data hungry adversary. Google is an engineering behemoth, although their marketing may be a tad understated for certain shareholder’s tastes – and particularly when compared to Apple. Siri essentially is a flop. As for Google Now, Google’s version of Siri (which predated Siri)…

“Take Google now, our goal is to get you the right information at just the right time. Launched nine months ago, Now provides boarding passes, delivery updates, and traffic conditions without you having to ask first. In this quarter, we added movie tickets nicely packaged with directions to the theatre. I am also excited about our Voice Search momentum. Looking for the nearest pharmacy, just ask Google for directions, and we’ll deliver them instantly, no typing needed. And you can now ask conversational questions like do I need a jacket this weekend. Voice commands are going to be increasingly important, it's just much less hassle to talk than type.”

The importance of Google’s voice command technology cannot be understated. These are examples that I just used for those unfamiliar with the tech. 

As compared to the closest competitor, Apple's Siri...

These commands take even more precedent when viewed in context of Google's biggest launch of the year, Glass....

Google is in the final phases of launching a product, a product that is to personal productivity as the smart phone was to computing. The company is up about 10% since that video about a month and change ago...

Google since April 16th 2013

From the latest quarterly valuation update for BoomBustBlog subscribers (click here to subscribe): 

BoomBustBlog releases its updated valuation on Google Inc. The stock has registered a +47% return since our last valuation update in March 2012.

Google continues to play a dominant-leader role in the online advertisement and search market. Its market share in online advertisement has been consistently growing not only in the US, but also in the other geographies. Besides being a leader in the online advertisement market, the company has been continuously taking initiatives to broaden its product and service offering. The last year has seen a number of (now) well-known products.

The continuous endeavor to diversify product and services through sustained efforts in research & development forms an important component of our valuation. While we expect that the company will continue to grow its revenue off its leading space in the advertisement and search market, its ability to diversify its future revenue in different streams is a key to the current valuation. We therefore expect its revenue to grow along a more diversified route. This statement requires some explanation, for most still don’t seem to understand the Google business model. Google monetizes the vast majority of its initiatives through ad revenue. This causes many to label Google’s various ventures as a failure, due to being misled by cost shifting. Google cost shifts through a myriad of products, disrupting entire industries, then monetizes the results through “Ad Revenue”. Thus, looking for direct revenue streams from Android is fruitless in comparison to searching for strength in ad revenue bolstered by Android.

Google has almost consistently outgrown the adoption rate of web advertising. What does this mean? Well, it means that although Web advertising is getting bigger and more popular as a slice of the total advertising pie, Google is getting even bigger and more dominant in the space – not less. Google is beating competition back even as the market grows! 

Google ad growth

Published in BoomBustBlog