TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Investors anxious about Apple's profit report

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 5:42 p.m.
 

NEW YORK — For many investors, Apple's best days are behind it. Competitors are catching up, they believe, and the latest iPhone is stumbling.

The company's doubters have backed their conviction with billions of dollars. Last week, the stock fell below $500 for the first time in 11 months. Since Apple's stock peaked at $705.07 on Sept. 21 — the day of the iPhone 5's release — it has fallen nearly 30 percent, cutting Apple's market capitalization by nearly $200 billion.

On Wednesday, Apple — still the world's most valuable public company — gets a chance to rebut the skeptics as it reports financial results for the holiday quarter. But the report could end up confirming beliefs that the company is losing its edge as an arbiter of innovation and a pacesetter in sales growth.

Apple's perception problem centers on the iPhone. Many investors believe the company has painted itself into a corner with the high-priced gadget. The iPhone is more expensive than other smartphones that do many of the same things. The company created the modern smartphone, but because of its strategy to sell the iPhone at a large premium, it will be unable to capitalize fully as smartphones continue to conquer the world. The iPhone seems destined to remain the phone of the elite who can afford it.

In many ways, the iPhone's global battle with phones running Google's Android operating system is a replay of the Mac-PC battles of the 80s and 90s, when Apple saw its innovative-yet-expensive Mac outflanked by cheaper PCs running Microsoft's DOS and Windows software.

Analyst Michael Morgan at ABI Research believes Apple's share of the global smartphone market will grow from 20.5 percent in 2012 to 22 percent this year and then remain flat. Meanwhile, South Korea's Samsung Electronics — the world's No. 1 maker of smartphones — is at 30 percent of the market, and is set to leverage its chip- and display-making capabilities into further dominance, he said.

“Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung's business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung's technology, software and device leadership in 2013 — through the foreseeable future,” Morgan said.

A key tenet among investors who remain optimistic about Apple: Although the iPhone 5 is too expensive, buyers will shift their attention to the older Apple phones, which they find “good enough.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Bayer to spin off plastics unit as separate company; employment to remain stable
  2. Chrysler roars back with latest 200
  3. Glaxo­SmithKline’s $492M fine is largest in China
  4. Parasitic load issue solvable with some probing
  5. CNG autos slow to make inroads into U.S. market
  6. Ferrari growth would benefit Fiat
  7. FDA revises food safety rules due out next year
  8. Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
  9. Pa. unemployment rate rises to 5.8 percent
  10. Stocks drift amid Alibaba’s IPO drama
  11. Alibaba stock soars in frenetic trading debut
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.