Analyst: Apple's poor earnings will recover now they've switched from innovating to rent-seeking


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/04/how-about-no-monopolies.html


#2

#3

We have easy switching services for bank accounts and gas & electric to allow fair competition (i could switch bank accounts right now and be up and running with my new account in 4 working days from now complete with transferred direct debits and standing orders).

We should have similar services for our digital content. Click here to switch to Google Music from Apple Music. Click here to switch to Dropbox from Google Drive. The process should automatically handle the data migration server side.

I don’t find switching from these services particularly difficult but the average Joe Street probably does feel that they’re locked in.

Switching services for internet companies should be made a compulsory feature.


#4

Apple just had a really poor Q3 earnings report

from the Register piece linked above:

For the Q4 FY 2018 period, ending September 29:

  • Revenues of $62.9bn were up 20 per cent from $52.6bn Q4 2017.
  • Net income of $14.1bn was up 32 per cent from $10.7bn last year
  • Earnings per share of $2.91 topped analyst estimates of $2.78.

For the full 2018 fiscal year:

  • Revenues of $265.6bn were up 16 per cent from $229.2bn in FY 2017.
  • Net income of $59.5bn was up 23 per cent from $48.35bn last year.
  • Earnings per share of $11.91 were up from $9.21 last year

If all that’s “really poor” then perhaps the extractive high-quarterly-growth-requiring nature of the stock market is really the underlying issue here?


#5

I spent twenty years in that walled garden, smug and happy. I’d go right back if it was cheaper.


#6

It’s Apple. If Cory Doctorow posted something that was actually accurate about Apple, I would fall out of my chair.


#7

The thing is, Apple has lessened the amount of DRM on their digital products. Not in a while, mind, since Jobs was still alive and in charge when they switch from DRM to signed music, but they haven’t gone back. Also, there’s nothing locking you into Apple when it comes to music, movie, TV, books, or otherwise purchases, except for the DRM of other platforms.

So, that leaves apps, and honestly, I’m fine paying the premium for the sandboxes apps on iOS, and I can side load on macOS still, so that’s fine by me. I know I’m giving up liberty for security, but if it means my iPhone is more stable, it’s a price I’m currently willing to pay. I’d like if they allowed side loading of apps on iOS, but it’s something that needs to be turned on, just like trusting non-App Store apps on macOS. I’d still not use it in most situations, but you are right it should be there.

As for digital data, I can already port my data from Dropbox to Google Drive to iCloud Drive, I just have to move the data on my computer, where I have the original data, and it updates in the background on my technical broadband provided by Comcast. Would it be nice if it was easier to move files back and forth? Of course, but I don’t expect that to change without legislation, and after observing the shitshow that is the EU’s copyright woes, I’m not even sure if legislation would be helpful.


#8

Our home ditched Apple in 1989, when I bought a Commodore PC-10-III running MS-DOS 3.1. I know the sample is limited, but I only know one Apple user, and he’s vehement about his Macbook laptop. Other than him, I only see Apple computers as movie and teevee props. The VA uses PC’s.

I have always bought custom desktop PC’s with as much horsepower and as new as I can afford, usually about every five years or so. My present PC is an I7 with a 2GB video card, twin 2GB internal drives, twin DVD burners, card reader, and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. This my last desktop. My new PC laptop, with WIN10PRO, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD is plenty for me, and my 27" monitor uses the HDMI port. The keyboard and mouse are wireless.


#9

You and I evidently move in very different circles. The increasing prevalence of iPhones, MacBooks and iPads over the last few years amongst my friends, clients and neighbours is remarkable.


#10

I am an old. I still don’t think of telephones as computers, even though I know differently!


#11

I recognized over 15 years ago Apple for what it was- a technological design fetishization company. For people who vest absolutely no time in learning how the devices work and don’t think about how they’ll be screwed in the future, Apple was king.

Everyone had to have an iPod and a Macbook because they were genuinely well-designed aesthetically, and user friendly upfront. I tried the macs, and quickly realized the way they work was meant to herd you through simple choices of how to do things. There was no right click, and instead of that being a transformative experience in the way it wasnt needed, it only left frustration and hidden menus in its wake.

Perhaps my understanding was deeply flawed, as the ipod was really beautiful to use. But I think I did see what was coming- they intended to redefine computing, and make people do it their way, use only their idea of how software should behave, only programs they developed. No outside ideas, their way, their walled garden forever. And the honey in the trap was attractive minimalist design.

I found linux shortly afterward, and while I still dont fully or even close to fully grasp most of it, Ive used it exclusively for the last 13 or so years. I can do almost anything however I want now with my computer, and while sometimes its frustrating, no one can tell me how to do something. Linux is the anarchist method of computing- no final authority defines how I do anything. All software is free, for the most part. Even the creator has distributed execution of how the software functions beyond a base level, with distros all putting their own spin on things.


#12

Apple has been selling animated emojis as a big deal for a couple of years now.


#13

So can I get a popular free linux distro, put a popular recently released video that was bought from Apple into VLC and watch it? Can someone test this? I’m over 99% certain it won’t work but I get the feeling that won’t be considered proof and I don’t have any Apple devices to do it on.

If that doesn’t work then it isn’t DRM in the other OS that is the problem.


#14

Not sure I’m clear on the concept here: Too much e-waste is bad, Apple designing phones that can be used for longer (reducing e-waste) is equally bad? Further Apple iPhones have historically held high resale values meaning they can be resold even after they age – again further reducing e-waste. Hell, I bought a new iPad. My old one will go to my Mom, who has my previous old one. That’ll go to my sister and my sister’s goes to a friend of hers. That’s 5 years of iPads. I owned the first generation as iPad a well, it went this circuit and ended up back with me – I used it as an e-reader at the gym until I dropped it and smashed the screen. I took it to apple for recycling. Are they a responsible recycler? I’d like to think so but I’d at least say they aren’t worse than any other option for e-waste. You think you could do this with any other generic tablet?

In the iPhone market sales of iPhones were flat (not declining), so people aren’t leaving the Apple ecosystem, they’re using the Apple phones they already have longer. But sales were flat - so somebody is buying phones that didn’t have them before to keep sales flat. This is why you’re going to see apple switch from giving quarterly sales numbers on devices to things like “active installed base” that show actual growth over time (or time longer than 3 months) better.

Biggest signs of problems I see from Apple at the moment is the switch they added, but not activated yet, that allows them to block 3rd party repairs. I’d like that switch user controllable so that if I’m worried about hardware implants I can prevent that by turning this on.


#15

To the best of my knowledge, it’s not so much a blocking repairs as requiring an unlock code if the hardware has been compromised. The main reason seems to be preventing skimmers, the sort that are now being offered to law enforcement and TSA. And yeah, I am one of those who don’t trust the TSA rifling through my stuff. The “block” is a way of letting the user know some components got swapped out and requiring reauthorisation.


#16

Yeah, I didn’t even need to read the byline to know which BB’er posted this particular screed.


#17

two words for you: fink and homebrew. almost all the open source software that exists, running on OSX, installed at minimum hassle.

OSX is based on BSD/Mach and has always been a unix operating system under the hood. if you want a terminal, there it is: Terminal.app. if you want X11, there it is: Xquartz. if you don’t want to run a package manager like fink/homebrew, you can always build all of the OSS stuff from source. i’ve been doing it for years.


#18

Ah, i was looking at it as loading other content sales platforms’ content on apple devices, not getting content sold by apple onto other platforms. That’s a good distinction and one I didn’t make. IIRC there’s no legal content distribution channel that allows for unlimited cross-platform play, it’s all got DRM (aside from music, which is, thankfully, no longer universally DRMed, but instead signed or unsigned AAC/MP4/MP3s). This has to do with no sales platform being strong enough like Apple was in the iTunes heyday to force the content producers (or at least the owners of the copyright to such works) to remove DRM. And, now that we’re in the age of streaming, it’s not going to happen unless we leave the age of streaming or legislation happens (and I’ve already brought up the dangers of relying on legislation to fix your problems).


#19

I learned along the way that both windows and Mac software is originally based off of Unix so at some level it is all similar.

Me? As I admitted basically I am not a Linux Guru I just use Ubuntu. Compiling things still confuses me but I have done it but I continually forget how because I have to do it so infrequently.

In the end even though it looks like I bash user simplicity as not a feature, truth be told while I have done some custom scripts for mathematical calculation for the most part I use my computer in a simple way that leaves me not grasping how much of the operating system works.

Basically I like the FOSS model, agree with the underlying ethical structure of how it operates, but I am not a computer programmer I am just a normal guy who needs to do simple things on my computer. I just had the foresight to not get locked into some morons business model, and was willing for a number of years to put up with the learning curve that it required to deal with that.


#20

It’s really poor because it missed analyst projections and saw contraction in the areas of historic growth, resulting in a beating in the market.