Goldman’s $430 Target, Screaming Buy On Apple At Its All Time High Is In Direct Contravention To Reggie Middleton’s Logic – Who’s Right? Well, Who Has Been More Right In The Past?
by ilene - December 14th, 2010 1:14 pm
Goldman has recently issued a strong buy recommendation on Apple, offering a $430 price target. I have been on record many times stating that Apples will be facing the toughest competition of its existence since Microsoft nearly put them out of business. This, of course, appears to be in direct contravention to the Goldman Sachs call which just happened to come out the day Apple hits its all time high. Being that Apple has more than its fair share of fans who ignore common sense, this is enough to set the stock on fire. The question still remains though, “Is Goldman right?” Goldman very well could be right, but not for the reasons most retail investors believe. Despite overwhelming evidence plus plain old history to the contrary, many investors and mainstream media outlets still take the sell side of Wall Street at their word. Sell side analysts are marketing arms for the brokerage sales force, the investment banking sales force and the traders who move inventory in and out of their respective banks. What they are not are wealth and strategy advisers for retail and institutional investors. Their historical performance clearly illustrates this, thus their is not need to take this entrepreneurial investor and blogger’s word for it. Well, for those of you who either don’t know of me or don’t know of Goldman, here’s a quick recap of Reggie Middleton vs. Goldman Sachs:
Who was more accurate concerning Google? Google’s 3rd Quarter Operating Results: The Foregone Conclusion That Was Amazingly Unanticipated by the Street!!! Monday, November 8th, 2010
Who was more accurate concerning Lehman Brothers, the Ivy league, ivory tower boys doing God’s work or that blogger with the smart ass mouth from Brooklyn?
Please click the graph to enlarge to print quality size.
As a matter of fact, who was more accurate during the ENTIRE Asset Securitization and Credit Crisis of the last three years? We believe Reggie Middleton and his team at the BoomBust bests ALL of Wall Street’s sell side research:…
by ilene - September 29th, 2010 2:09 am
I’m going to help Baruch out of denial by telling everybody he’s not crazy about the iPad. If I remember Psych 101 correctly, if Baruch makes any sacrifices for the iPad or, god forbid, spends money on accessories, he’s going to change his mind. – Ilene
Courtesy of Ultimi Barbarorum
[Click on photo to watch Queen - Flash]
It’s very embarrassing, but I think my iPad annoys me. Baruch feels that he should be raving about his iPad. It’s the biggest thing to hit consumer tech since, well since the iPhone 3G took off. When the history of early 21st century tech is written, it might even be a more important product than the iPhone. And here am I, on record, complaining about it. I’m going to be that guy from IBM who said in I think 1945 that there would only ever be like, 5 computers.
So, why don’t I like my iPad?
1) Flash — ahh-aaaaahh! I miss Flash on my iPad like I don’t on my iPhone. I (mostly) understand The Great Jobbso’s reasons for treating Flash like a vampire looks at garlic, but I have somehow failed to make my 4-year old understand them as well. All he knows is that he is unable to play his favourite Flash-based Teletubbies game on the CBBC website. It doesn’t work, and he wants Daddy to fix it. Obviously Daddy can’t. He gets cross. So the poor little tyke’s had to go back to the PC for his Teletubbies.
Daddy had a similar experience with the Daily Show. Watching the Daily Show online is, for Baruch, almost the whole point of having The Internet. And it’s flash based. And its not just John Stewart, it’s like half the commercial video on the internet, from retail sites, to (I am told) porn, to hotel websites. Baruch hates those little lego blocks in the middle of the space where his video should be. His heart sinks when he sees them. He wonders what he’s missing.
I don’t have the same level of expectation with my iPhone. After so many false dawns in the mobile internet, I secretly think I am not supposed to surf the web on my phone, so anything I can do on it in that direction I still find…
by ilene - July 13th, 2010 8:09 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
It’s official. Consumer Reports’ engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception. When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.
That’s Consumer Reports, incidentally, which put the phone in an RF-isolated room to perform their tests along with a base-station emulator.
Oops – that’s about as close to proof as you’re going to find. In an RF-quiet environment it’s pretty easy to prove your case, and it appears that CR did so.
The tests also indicate that AT&T’s network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4′s much-reported signal woes.
I have never been impressed with the iPhone (any generation) in terms of RF. Ever. It has always been a "form before function" device from my perspective, all the way back to the original units. Then again I’m spoiled – the best RF-performing GSM phone I’ve ever used was a Nokia 3395. I may still have one laying around here somewhere, and all of my old Nokias (including a 6610 which was nearly as good) still work just fine. Old, yes, but one thing Nokia does know how to do is design and build an RF section.
Incidentally, buying devices that work before selecting them for "sex appeal" may be why I’ve never had a material problem with the "can you hear me?" BS that so many suffer with when it comes to cellphones. I guess my view is that a cellphone is for communicating rather than trying to shag some hot chick at the local bar by flashing my "bling."
This is a common flaw for consumer devices – be sexy rather than be smart – or good. Of course sex sells, and so the more "sexy" you can make something look the better it sells, and as long as you remain within the "acceptable" functionality envelope you don’t get hurt – too badly. Witness Motorola, which had the "hot" phone for a long time…
An iPhone 4 Recall Will Hurt Apple More By Opening Additional Oppurtunity for Android Devices Than Increased Expenses
by ilene - July 13th, 2010 3:26 pm
An iPhone 4 Recall Will Hurt Apple More By Opening Additional Opportunity for Android Devices Than Increased Expenses
Apple has had a hell of a time with what is arguably its most important product release since the initial iPhone in 2007. The handsets have been plagued with spotty screens, combustible USB ports, signal strength measurement inconsistencies, and the most damaging of the issues – an ill-conceived antenna design that causes attenuation when held from the lower left had corner. Steve Jobs did the Blankfein (Goldman Sachs CEO, stating that the Wall Street bank was doing God’s work) imitation by opening his mouth when he shouldn’t have and said that users were “hold the phone the wrong way”. Not only that, but Consumer Reports just came out with a report stating that they can not recommend the buying of an iPhone until the antenna situation has been rectified, prompting speculation that Apple will be forced to recall millions of phones.
As a matter of fact, the review was rather poignant:
“If you want an iPhone that works well without a masking-tape fix, we continue to recommend an older model, the 3G S.”
As evidence of the danger of relying on “lifestyle” marketing (see An Introduction to How Apple Apple Will Compete With the Google/Android Onslaught)…
It is very easy to fall out of favor with the trendy crowd. While I doubt very seriously that Apple is in danger of doing this anytime soon, a massive recall will open the door for devices which are technically much more capable, flexible and open than the iPhone, ex. the Android powered HTC and Samsung devices. Basically, the danger to Apple here is not the expense of a recall, but the loss of mindshare and potential widening of the opening for some very capable competition – an opening that did not have to be there!
Don’t believe me, click the link to the consumer reports article and peruse the comment section…
Google Swings for the Fences and Tries to Knock Apple, Microsoft, IPhones and Office Apps Out of the Park!!!
by ilene - July 9th, 2010 5:00 pm
Google Swings for the Fences and Tries to Knock Apple, Microsoft, IPhones and Office Apps Out of the Park!!!
Courtesy of Reggie Middleton
This is an excerpt from part two of a multi-part series on the companies vying for dominance during the 3rd major paradigm shift in personal and enterprise technology over the last 30 years. This one will be a biggie (not smalls) and promises to create an investment behemoth out of the winner and relegate the losers to relatively niche markets. This is saying a lot considering the size of the companies participating in the battle for the pole position. I created this series to provide a truly objective, truly informed, and truly analytical (from an empirical perspective) knowledge source on this very important intersection in personal computing and distributed media. This series will end with a full BoomBustBlog style forensic report on the company we feel has the most to gain from these wars from an investor’s perspective.Those who are not familiar with my hard-edged, yet objective analytical work should reference past performance and media appearances for a quick background.
It is imperative that readers first review “There Is Another Paradigm Shift Coming in Technology and Media: Apple, Microsoft and Google Know its Winner Takes All” before moving on so as to get a thorough background as to what is at stake, who the players are, and what mobile technologies are being released into the consumer and enterprise realm. This is a lengthy, meaty, objective and information packed post that was initially intended to go out to subscribers only (click here to subscribe to our research services). I welcome you to compare it to the research you find available from technology, financial and strategic advisory firms, including and particularly Goldman Sachs (click here to see what I mean) and let me know whose analysis is more accurate, in depth and thorough (not to mention less expensive).
Google is Giant, Online Ad Agency Cum Enterprise Software Developer and consumer electronics and media giant! WTF! That’s right…
At the end of 2009, Google earned $22.9 billion or 96.8% of its total revenues through advertising, out of which $15.7 billion was related to its own websites, with the remaining $7.2 billion related to other network websites.
by ilene - June 30th, 2010 1:20 pm
Just some random market thoughts and observations as we head into the holiday weekend doldrums…
* The S&P 500 looks to finish the 2nd quarter 2010 down 11%. An absolute slaughterhouse from the end of April on.
* You know the bulls are spent when we couldn’t even get the traditional End Of Quarter Markups. Brian Shannon (Alpha Trends) called it "end of quarter window-smashing" yesterday with the indexes down close to 4% apiece.
* I’m hearing chatter about the possibility of a short squeeze but I’m not sure I see one brewing. You would need something on the horizon that adds a little fear for the shorts. You’re going to tell me that they’re afraid of tomorrow’s ADP report? Or the employment numbers due out Friday?
* (Supposedly) positive news from Europe’s banking wreck yielded little or no reaction here in the States this morning. But we all know how negative news is reacted to lately. A sentiment indicator if ever there was one: Good News = Blah, Bad News = Death & Dismemberment.
* Apple finishes down more than ten bucks on news of a Verizon iPhone launch in 6 months. So apparently, 10 million plus new iPhone users is an underwhelming possibility. Another sentiment touchstone for sure. Verizon was down, too. Oh boy.
* No one running big money is looking to do anything heroic this week, regardless of stocks having gotten, shall we say, a bit cheaper. Other than BP (because of Exxon rumors) and the Tesla IPO (hyped beyond belief), I saw little appetite for anything this week. The selling has stopped in many stocks as of this writing, but now what?
Anyway, these are just some random observations as I take the market’s temperature. I realize that taken together they are incredibly negative, but that’s the mood.
We’ll see how she finishes the week.
by ilene - June 14th, 2010 8:01 pm
Courtesy of Andy Kessler
AT&T’s Picturephone, shown at the 1964 World’s Fair, was a huge flop. Apple’s new iPhone 4, announced this week, has a front-facing camera for video chats. It might succeed, except that AT&T isn’t providing enough bandwidth capacity.
First, the company won’t allow two-way video to work over its data network. Second, AT&T just made bandwidth-intensive video expensive by dropping iPhone and iPad’s $30 per month unlimited data plans and replacing them with a two-tiered plan of $15 a month for under 200 megabyte usage or $25 for two gigs. Not that I have a problem with AT&T charging me or the 2% of its customers who are heavy data users. I can always sign up with a competitor. Oh, wait. There are none. AT&T has an exclusive contract with Apple.
AT&T can easily build out enough capacity to handle heavy data users. But it may be playing a game of chess with the FCC over its attempt to impose "network neutrality" rules. The FCC (plus Google and friends) wants all users to have free rein to do what they want on the Internet and smart phones. AT&T just wants users to pay for excess bandwidth.
Both are fine and not incompatible goals, except that competition, rather than rules, will best set the right price and make it happen. But without more broadband capacity and much higher speeds, the productivity applications needed to drive the next wave of growth in the economy will be stillborn.
Read the rest here:
See also: AT&T Goes AOL on Data Hogs, Jr. Deputy Accountant
by ilene - June 9th, 2010 6:55 pm
Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns
In my last technology post, I wrote that we are moving to an Internet-centric world where your computing device or operating system are less important because your data will live and breathe in the Internet cloud. Google, in particular, is preparing for this world because it has a dominant role in the Internet through search. But everyone is moving to an Internet-centric service and content delivery strategy.
The telecom providers understand that their networks make them gatekeepers who can extract rents from content providers. Having paid handsomely to build these networks, they are fighting to not become dumb pipes and resisting net neutrality in order to keep that gatekeeper role. This is one reason Google is trying to build its own network and circumvent the telcos. Eventually, I think the land-based telcos will lose and the battle will move to one between mobile operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Android. Although mobile phone operators may still be able to extract rents for a while longer than the fixed-line telcos.
The PC OS landscape
In the past, the operating system has been important in computing because it allowed the same software to be run on different computing devices, permitting users of those devices to transfer data easily as they were using the same software. But, the OS also benefitted as the more installed users one OS had, the more developers created software for the operating system. These network effects made achieving critical mass a defining factor. Going forward, network effects will also be important in monetizing OS-proprietary e-Commerce platforms like iTunes and Google’s new iTunes competitor.
One reason Apple was near bankruptcy before Steve Jobs re-appeared on the scene is because Apple’s Macintosh’s installed base had shrunk. I used a Macintosh from the mid-1980s but was forced to switch to a PC when I bought a laptop in the mid-1990s that I used both at home and for work. As the PC gained sway, millions of users like me were forced to give up the Mac. And, of course, that meant software developers gravitated to the PC platform and the Mac became a niche product.
The Move to the Internet-centric Model
by ilene - May 26th, 2010 3:25 pm
Courtesy of James Kwak of Baseline Scenario
So, after questioning the iPad, I bought one.* My primary motivation was that I wanted to be able to watch old TV episodes on the commute to and from my internship this summer, and I think an iPod Touch is just too small. I also bought an Android phone, because my three-year-old Motorola RAZR2 v9m (who comes up with these product names, anyway?) developed a crack in the hinge, and because I wanted the best camera I could get on a phone. (My #2 use for a phone is not email — it’s taking pictures and videos of my daughter.)
Anyway, catching up on the last three years of mobile technology has provided ample food for thought. I have a long post on the Apple-Google(-Microsoft) war rolling around in my head somewhere, which I will hopefully write down later this week. In the meantime, here’s John Gruber‘s verdict on Microsoft:
“Three years ago, just before the original iPhone shipped, here’s what Steve Ballmer said in an interview with USA Today’s David Lieberman:
‘There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of them, than I would to have 2 percent or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get.’
“Not only was he wrong about the iPhone, but he was even more wrong about Windows Mobile. Three years ago Ballmer was talking about 60, 70, 80 percent market share. This week, Gartner reported that Windows Mobile has dropped to 6.8 percent market share in worldwide smartphone sales, down dramatically from 10.2 percent a year ago.”
Steve Ballmer has been CEO of Microsoft since 2000. During his tenure, Microsoft came out with Windows Vista, perhaps the most unsuccessful operating system in modern history (Windows ME doesn’t count, since Microsoft’s core customer base was using NT/2000); it tried a “Microsoft inside” strategy in digital music and, when that failed, launched the Zune, which also failed; it watched Firefox (and Safari and Chrome) eat a large…
by ilene - March 6th, 2010 9:46 am
Courtesy of Ultimi Barbarorum
Baruch, in this post: A new piece of information, augmented by local insight, that amounts to yet another upside case for Apple. And yes, it involves the iPad.
The new information: This past Thursday, Apple revealed plans to open 25 retail stores in China. Currently, there is one swish Apple Store in an upmarket outdoor Beijing mall, with one more planned in Beijing and two in Shanghai this year. Opening Apple stores in Chinese cities that most foreigners have never heard of (The likes of Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming —there are 25 such cities in China bigger than Chicago) betrays a whole new level of ambition in the Chinese market, beyond just servicing creative elites in their international watering holes.
But what could Apple possibly sell in those stores that the Chinese can afford en masse? Let’s put that question aside for a moment and look at these recent observations:
- My Chinese teacher, upon visiting my apartment, ogles my 17-inch MacBook Pro and 24-inch Apple screen. She goes so far as to run her fingers over the logo. “Made in China!” she beams. There is pride in the fact that Apple devices are made here, even if the IP comes from elsewhere. They are obviously built very well, which is more than you can currently say about Chinese-assembled cars or buildings. Apple computers may well be the most famous high-quality product coming out of China right now, and the