Everything Wrong with Tech Reporting in One Paragraph

At a family gathering for Father’s Day, my sister asked, “So what’s wrong with Apple?” Puzzled, I asked her to clarify, and she mentioned the occasional snarky tweet I post making fun of Apple analysts, like this one referring to last week’s 7-for-1 stock split:

@jeffcarlson: Please please tell me someone wrote an article about how Apple lost 85% of it’s value today. It’s gotta be somewhere. #appledoomed

And then today, I finally had a chance to read the recent article about Apple CEO Tim Cook in the New York Times. I don’t know why I’m still optimistic that a story about Apple could be informative or even accurate, because I was disappointed to read this, a few paragraphs into the piece:

Of late, the company has hit a snag that was years in the making: Its sales now are so large that many investors worry that it can’t continue to match the growth that brought it from $65 billion in sales in the 2010 fiscal year to $171 billion in 2013. In fiscal 2013, sales grew a mere 9 percent, far below an average just shy of 40 percent a year from 2004 to 2013. Profits slimmed. And the stock price fell nearly in half from its 2012 peak to the middle of 2013, vastly underperforming the market.

And this, my friends, is why most tech reporting sucks. The “snag” is that Apple is so successful that it can’t grow fast enough to appease analysts and investors, whose expectations have never reflected reality anyway.

In short, the selfish jerks aren’t making as much money off Apple as fast as they want, so the company is in trouble. No consideration for quality of products, satisfaction among customers who actually pay for those products, or a track record of amazing profit and operational savvy that few companies on the planet can match.

And when they’re talking about “investors,” you know they’re not talking about you, who may own a few shares; their focus is on the major funds and organizations that have no connection to the company other than what they can squeeze from the stock.

I attempted to read the whole article, but it’s a hack piece designed to fellate stock traders, not say anything interesting about Cook or Apple. There are better ways to spend my time.

[I realized after posting this that The Macalope wrote a fine piece about this article at Macworld. He or she also points out how it’s a failure that Tim Cook meets with Jony Ive only 3 days a week instead of every day like Saint Jobs, completely bypassing the fact that Jobs always had more of a designer’s focus on products, whereas Cook is not a designer but a top-notch operations guy.]

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