Apple’s stock price has been sliding. Down almost 50% from its peak. Analysts have cut estimates and changed their forecasts. Apple recently announced a new stock incentive plan for CEO Tim Cook. One than only offered more down-side risk to him and nothing beneficial. Cook was all for it.
Some are worried that Apple’s run may be over. That they may be faltering.
But don’t count them out yet.
Don’t worry about them.. yet.
For the past 15+ years Apple built an eco-system, under Jobs, that turned the company around; that brought it from the brink of bankruptcy all the way to the most valuable company in the world.
Jobs and Apple did this by controlling the user experience – and creating their own eco-system from innovate products, to software, to stores.
That eco-system is still on top and still offers Apple a lot of advantages that other companies don’t have.
Sure Samsung finally dethroned them from the top spot of the mobile industry (in terms of market share), but that’s hardly a cause for concern. Other phone manufacturers have put out well-put together products for years that competed on specs with the iPhone, but it wasn’t until the Galaxy that somebody finally put the right marketing push behind one. Samsung got it right. They marketed their product very well, and they’re a big player now.
It’s a two-horse race – but Apple is the more integrated company. And the more innovative one.
But, it’s only a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung from a mobile phone hardware perspective.
It’s a two-horse race between Apple and Google in the mobile phone software space.
It’s still a two-horse race between Apple and Microsoft in the personal computer space – one which Apple hasn’t since the early 80’s. And, actually that’s just from a software side. From a hardware perspective – well, its arguable that Apple has done better than any of its competitors. IBM sold off their PC division to a Chinese company. HP and Dell have floundered. Apple has actually done better in the transition from desktops to laptops than anybody else has.
And, when it has come to tablets and portable music players – nobody has touched the iPod and iPad yet.
The Apple eco-system has worked well. And it’s not going away anytime soon.
All that Jobs put together is not lost on Cook. He was along for much of that ride. He knows why Apple’s strategy worked so well. We’re not far enough off from that yet.
I haven’t even mentioned what the Apple Store has been able to do yet – with selling apps and music.
But none of that matters.
Apple spent the last 15 years building an eco-system. They practically invented and dominated whole industries: portable music players and tablets.
They made the transition from desktop to laptop as well (if not better) than any other hardware company out there.
They saved the music industry. And as of today, account for 64% of all online music sales and 29% of all music sales worldwide.
They’re still the “cool” company.
And they are the company with the MOST cash on hand. In the world.
Yet, they are currently trading at a P/E of 8.
Facebook and LinkedIN are trading at P/Es of 200+.
Microsoft is trading at a P/E of 17. Microsoft isn’t even cool anymore.