TribLIVE

| Business


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

Investors anxious about Apple's profit report

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. Google Maps opens business doors to online views for shoppers
  2. Utility regulator seeks $639,000 in penalties from electric supplier
  3. Many in Pennsylvania can still get benefit of Affordable Care Act
  4. Indian firm plans exports of ethane from U.S. shale fields
  5. United tries to woo fliers with upgraded food options
  6. Few homeowners expected to benefit from Bank of America’s $16.65B settlement
  7. UPMC earnings turn positive, but pressures mount
  8. Back-to-school season deals just a click away with new services, apps
  9. Honda recalls Fits to improve their crash resistance
  10. Economic indicator rises 0.9% in July
  11. Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.