There’s been an awful lot of coverage of Apple’s most recent financial results. The results were (kind of) incredible, but even so, the level of coverage seems slightly overblown. MG Siegler, no stranger to the Apple love letter, manages 1,085 words on why Apple’s results were so insanely awesome. Yes, that’s right.
Over. One. Thousand. Words.
The Gettysburg Address is just over two hundred.
You see, the thing is, this isn’t news anymore.
Apple isn’t a young start-up, fresh out of Steve Jobs garage anymore. And hasn’t been for some time. It’s not even a challenger brand, scrapping with the big guns of the status quo. That stops as soon as you’re regularly swapping the title of most valuable company on the planet with Exxon every few months.
So, with that in mind, what would be news? Well, here’s a few thoughts.
- Not hoarding cash ($110 billion in these latest earnings). It’s not like they spend it, either on investment or dividends/buy backs (the new scheme will hardly scratch the surface). No, Apple can’t bear the thought of bringing most of that money back into the US, lest the nasty government dares to ask them to pay tax on all that cash. After all, margins of almost 50% hardly pays the bills these days. Instead its sits on its pile of cash like a greedy dragon, bedazzled by the shine of the gold.
- Not trying to maximise that margin by doing its best to keep wages down, wherever it goes. After all, who the **ck do they think is going to be able to pay $609 for a phone if they’re all on the minimum wage, or have seen their jobs disappear?
- Not brushing off any criticism about their lack of ecological sensitivity as if it’s just an annoyance. You’re the biggest tech company in the world, possibly the biggest full stop. Stop acting like a spoilt child.
- Just generally not acting like the embodiment of Steve Jobs; a wannabe hippy with sociopathic tendencies, who saw it as his right to park in the disabled bay wherever he went. Apple still seems to be convinced that it should be able to park in the metaphorical disabled bay if it feels like it, due to the fact that the Jobs-ian reality distortion field seems to have become part of the company ethos.
- Putting something back. More or less the first thing Jobs did when he got back to Apple in 1997 was close its philanthropy programmes (all this whilst the ‘uncool’ Bill Gates vowed to use his worldly wealth to cure malaria). They never reopened. After all, those 47% margins don’t make themselves.
Any of this would actually be news. Making more money, on overpriced goods, made by low-paid staff? That’s just dog bites man.
Image from Man Bites Dog (if you haven’t seen it, you should).
FWIW, on your last point, Tim Cook has started some charitable programmes since the death of Jobs… It’s not a match yet to what they used to do, but it is a sign of change.
Which is great. I would actually like to read more about how Cook is clearing out the parts of Jobs personality that infect Apple, whilst keeping the good bits.