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Per Lindberg predicts things

“The N8 is certainly a step in the right direction, it’s much more multimedia,” Per Lindberg, an independent technology analyst at MF Global in London, told Marayam Nemazee on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.” “But whether it will move Nokia’s market share upwards is more debatable,” he said adding that Android phones are becoming an “formidable force.”

via Nokia Says Preorders for N8 Smartphone Are Strongest Ever Seen – Bloomberg.

This is the same Per Lindberg who, in January of this year, reiterated his February 2009 Sell rating on Apple and the entire smartphone industry:

“There is no doubt, in my mind, that the whole sector is hugely overstretched,” says the London-based physics PhD and MBA graduate who joined MF Global Ltd. in 2008 after 10 years at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort.

“The whole sector is priced as if the average player would sustain 25 per cent margin in eternity,” he adds.

“It’s bordering on absurdity. This will end in tears.”

He is willing to use the b-word: “Many stock bubbles are generated by sell-side analysts generating enthusiasm for the companies they cover.”

To date however, it’s Mr. Lindberg’s call that’s been the costly one for investors. He has maintained his sell rating on Apple since early February of last year, causing investors who followed his advice to miss out on a more than 110-per-cent surge in the share price.

Meet Apple’s sole skeptic – The Globe and Mail

In February 2009 Apple’s stock price was $89. Yesterday it closed at $267.

  • RattyUK

    Gartenberg over at slashgear:

    "Overall the N8 is an impressive device. Two years ago, it would have blown everything else in the market away. Today’s competitive landscape is a different story. From a hardware perspective, the N8 can hold up against most of the today’s devices. The software is a different story and while this version of the platform makes great strides in usability and functionality, there’s still much Nokia needs to do to drive the software platform forward."

    http://www.slashgear.com/a-week-with-the-nokia-n8

    • EricE

      "From a hardware perspective, the N8 can hold up against most of the today’s devices. The software is a different story…."

      And here is the disconnection that seems to escape companies and geeks alike.

      It's the ecosystem, stupid! Apple just doesn't sell hardware. Apple just doesn't sell software. Apple just doesn't sell services. They don't even just sell all three.

      They sell all of the above as one unit – a single, well integrated user experience. All the pieces fit together, and compliment each other well.

      Geeks like those at slashgear may fawn over the Nokia hardware (and it is cool) but in the end the rest of the world couldn't care less. Until other manufacturers figure this out, and then figure out how to match Apple they will gain little traction.

      • Shaun

        Actually it's only the geeks that really debate over hardware OR software. Most consumers aren't really that interested, which shows in the sales figures for Nokia smartphones which outsell Apple and Android combined.

        Gartenberg actually also called the N8 the best GSM phone for the US too as the new Nokias are pentaband 3G so work on t-Mob and AT&T.

        And speaking of geeks, it seems even those are pretty happy with Nokia's development platform these days. See this piece at GigaOM…

        http://gigaom.com/2010/09/15/whats-it-like-to-dev

      • EricE

        >Most consumers aren't really that interested, which shows in the sales figures for Nokia smartphones which outsell Apple and Android combined.

        But are they buying it for Symbian in order to use the phone as a smartphone, or are they buying a Nokia smartphone simply because it didn't cost them any different to not buy one?

        In the end, if users aren't buying apps, surfing the web or otherwise using the phone as a smartphone, from a platform and profit perspective does it really matter?

        Raw sales may be interesting to those who like to count statistics, but companies and developers generally need profits and not just sales. Android has lots of "sales" numbers, but the opportunity for making profit on Android is no where near where Apple is with the iOS ecosystem. And with the depressed web surfing stats for Android vs. the iOS, it's less revenue for Google too. Sure, there are tons of Android phones out there – with two for one sales or basically free phones, why not? But that doesn't mean that those are "good" sales numbers for the health of the overall ecosystem.

        On the other hand, pretty much everyone who buys an iPhone went out of their way to buy one – and the web useage statistics and profits generated by the app store bare this out.

        I often find that those who focus on raw sales numbers to the exclusion of all other factors do so because that's the only positive indicator they have to spin ;o)

  • MattF

    I think Apple's share price is justified by one thing– and his initials are SJ. If Jobs got hit by a bus, Apple's price would fall at least 50%, pretty much overnight– and justifiably– After all, we already know what Apple-without-Jobs looks like, and it ain't pretty.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      Steve Jobs' health is a big uncertainty. But markets are very good at discounting or factoring in uncertainty. So shouldn't his potential departure already be priced in? So is it not equally plausible that if SJ exits and the company continues to create unforeseen growth, then without the drag of uncertainty the stock would rise?

    • RattyUK

      I think you are disregarding the change in culture at Apple Matt. When Jobs 1.0 was ousted by the sugar water salesman and the bean counters the company was run by accountants and, like Microsoft today, a lot of internal infighting was taking place. Andy ihnatko likes to talk about the "leaks" from various department heads at Apple at that time phoning to dis other projects to the press. "That thing, yeah, it's dead".

      "Justifiably and overnight" Is a bit extreme. The team at Apple knows what it is doing and probably has at least a 5 year road map in place going forward so although there would be a knee-jerk response honestly Apple will keep executing going forward for quite some time.

      The only thing you can criticize the current team is perhaps being too conservative with their numbers going forward. I think both the iPad and the iPhone took them by complete surprise.

      One final point the share price isn't entirely based on Steve Jobs. It is the profits that they are making with the products they are releasing.

      And based on today's news, I'd be careful dissing "Ninja" Jobs. :D

      • MattF

        There's a saying among people who do simulations– "It's hard to make predictions, particularly about the future." And I don't claim any special knowledge.

        On the one hand, I agree that Apple's fundamentals look good. But on the other hand, I don't know what fraction of Apple's share price is 'volatile'– held by people who don't care about fundamentals. And, pretending that I have a third hand, I'll note that Apple's price, judged by any conventional standard, is high– so there's a lot of room for it to fall, even if conventional metrics look good.

      • http://www.asymco.com asymco

        How about this conventional standard of value: the P/E ratio. http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/02/apples-pe-ex-cas

        Apple is considered less valuable than the average S&P 500 company but it's growing more than twice as fast.

        http://www.asymco.com/2010/06/19/apple-considered

        Even salaried analysts are catching on:
        http://online.barrons.com/article/SB5000142405297

    • Jim

      We did see Apple without Jobs at the helm – during his liver transplant last year. While only out of action for a few weeks, don't underestimate the severity of that surgery and the recovery time. Jobs has a well equipped team. Of course, he's the lynch-pin, but Apple as a company has a clear identity and direction, something many of its competitors lack.

  • Rob Scott

    Steve was on leave for month and Apple continued, launched new products etc. If I remember correct the share price even appreciated. I think the top executives at Apple know their story, but markets can be irrational.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      I believe he was on sick leave for more than six months in 2009 and another extended leave in 2004.

  • Iphoned

    @Asymco

    >>How about this conventional standard of value: the P/E ratio.

    Well, it is clear that Apple has a very low PE ration vs growth potential. The elephant in the room is the foundation of the "E" in that ratio. Eith 70% of that "E" now represented by iPhone which has way outsized margins, Per had a valid concern. If these indeed will prove to be peak margins, watch out for that "E"

  • Iphoned

    Per Lindberg assumptions (from the article):

    >>He believes the smart phone market will grow to $80-billion in 2012, and sales will thereafter "expand at a pedestrian, single-digit rate." A more reasonable industry-wide profit margin of 10 per cent, on $80 million in sales, yields pretax profits of $8-billion, or $5.5-billion after-tax.

    Frankly, these sounds quite reasonable. Does any one challenge these numbers?

    • Ted T.

      I don't need to challenge the numbers. The mistake that idiot analyst after idiot analyst makes is that Apple's current hit product/cash cow will be their last hit ever. You don't need to have a fevered imagination to see the iPad stepping into the cash cow role — it already a monster hit, and has fewer obstacles in terms of carrier relationships and entrenched competition than the iPhone had.

      And of course by now Apple is busy working on their next insanely great product, whatever it may be.

      • http://www.asymco.com asymco

        Of course, when Per made the "Sell" call in early 2009 he did not foresee the iPad. Many who saw it also did not realize what it was. Once they realized what it was they did not expect it to sell as it did. Once they saw first quarter sales, they did not expect it to grow. Classic.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      Yes, I will challenge that number. Apple alone will be generating half the 2012 revenues for the smartphone market he suggests. My assumptions are laid out here:
      http://www.asymco.com/2010/06/14/can-the-iphone-r

      My calculations suggest that with that level of sales, Apple will only have 19% smartphone share at that time. I think 80% of the market can easily add up to more than twice what Apple generates.

      But the more absurd notion is that growth will slow to single digits in another year and a half. That means that smartphone penetration will saturate well below 10% globally. See data from the US and Europe on current penetration here:
      http://www.asymco.com/2010/09/14/what-apple-and-a

      The US will probably hit 50% penetration next year (http://www.asymco.com/2010/09/14/nielsen-nearly-25-percent-of-us-adults-use-smartphones/).

  • Travis

    Yet Nokia's profits are gone, their ecosystem is confused and fragmented and they're barely a footnote in the US market.

    But other than that, yeah, Nokia's doing great.

    BTW, who cares what Gartenberg thinks? Do they really think US customers shop for phones based on how many bands it has? Hint: the vast, vast majority of people here buy subsidized and locked. You can rail about it being backward and customer-hostile (and I might not disagree) but it's a fact of life. Therefore, portability between networks is simply not on anyone's radar. By the time a contract expires, it's time for a new phone anyway.