October 2010
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Month October 2010

60 percent of Apple's sales are from products that did not exist three years ago

This chart speaks for itself. Note the bottom two bands and the proportion of the total that they make up.

Also note the seasonality with the holiday spikes. This last quarter is not a holiday quarter. Now imagine what next quarter will look like on this chart.

Apple OPEX: Never have so many owed so much to so few

Apple sales are growing faster than its operating expenses. Although all eyes are on gross margin, the company continues to run a tight ship in fixed costs (costs which do not vary with the output).

In terms of R&D, spending has dropped to 2.4% of sales, a level seen only once since 2005. Sales, General and Administrative costs also dropped to 7.7% of sales, a new record low.

The total operating expenses as a percent of sales stands at 10.2%. The following chart shows the trend.

Apple's cash quintupled in last four years and doubled in last two years.

During the last quarter the company added $5.2 billion to its cash, long- and short-term marketable securities accounts for a total of $51 billion. This amounts to about $53 per share vs. $49.43 per share in July (making the share price about $250 ex-cash).

I would caution again that when reading commentary about Apple’s cash that many observers exclude long-term securities from the “cash” total.

To see the difference in the total, this chart breaks out the three different accounts over time.

Apple's P/E drops below 20 (again), ex-cash P/E at 16.44

Following earnings growth of 68%, after hours trading of AAPL at $300/share shows a P/E of 19.8. The company added over $5 billion in cash for a total of $51 billion or $52.9/share.

Excluding cash from the price of $300 leads to an enterprise value of $249 and a trailing twelve months earnings of $15.15. The ex-cash P/E is therefore 16.44.

P/E/trailing Growth is 0.29.

My guess is that this is keeping AAPL cheaper than the S&P 500 on both P/E and P/E/G.

Which size really matters? Market Share vs Profit Share

One of the most hotly debated subjects in the mobile phone business is the importance of market share. It’s also a topic of lore in the PC industry. Briefly the two arguments are:

  • Market share matters more because it drives network effects which ultimately drive competition out of the market, creating the opportunity for monopoly rents.
  • Profit share matters more because profit is the only fuel that can drive innovation. Any macro downturn or shift in strategy can cause a company to cease investing in unprofitable projects.

The old disruptor’s adage: “Be hungry for profits and patient for growth” is challenged by the equally disruptive: “Grow share with lower prices in exchange for new revenue sources.”

There are many rich anecdotes to support each strategy, but how about some data?

And then there was one. Sony Ericsson to stop making Symbian phones

Sony Ericsson is to stop making smartphones featuring Nokia’s Symbian operating system.

The move means that the troubled Finnish mobile maker is likely to be the only significant user of Symbian.

Analysts said Sony Ericsson’s decision confirmed the “failure” of Symbian as an open source platform, given that it was supposed to be used by several large mobile makers.

via FT.com / Technology – Sony Ericsson to stop using Symbian system.

While Android and Windows Phone continue with a licensing model, the list of abandoned licensed mobile operating systems grows:

Sony Ericsson vs. RIM

“Our third consecutive quarter of profitable results illustrates that Sony Ericsson’s overall performance is stabilizing. Our strategy to focus on the smartphone segment is succeeding and smartphones now comprise more than 50% of our total sales,” Chief Executive Bert Nordberg said in a statement.

via Sony Ericsson swings to third-quarter profit – MarketWatch.

As the world welcomes Sony Ericsson to the smartphone market, we compare its unit volumes to another vendor that’s been selling only smartphones.

Sony Ericsson took the Android life jacket and it saved them, for now. But think for a moment where they used to be. A very similar story to Motorola.

CDMA iPad and the 150 million iOS devices next year

The Verizon distribution for iPad is an unexpected development. Coupled with distribution through AT&T stores, and rapidly expanding retail points of purchase, it seems that the iPad is destined to be the most widely distributed product Apple sells. The iPod never reached operator points of purchase and the Mac is orders of magnitude more constrained.

What seems to be happening is that Apple is pulling out all the stops and going for unrestricted iPad distribution. This may also foreshadow unrestricted iPhone distribution next year. It may also portend a CDMA iPad (or at least an LTE version) next year.

If it happens all estimates for next year need to be revised sharply. I had been expecting 100% growth for the iPad and 50% growth for the iPhone. These might need to be increased to 150% and 100%.

The consequence could be that total iOS devices sold could top 150 million for calendar 2011.

iPad: IT gets it

In the last article on the share of PCs highlighting the unwillingness of market analysts to categorize the disruptive iPad as a PC I imply that Gartner does not “get it”.

This is partly willful and partly instinctive. The willful ignorance is due to a belief that their customers (IT managers mostly) do not want to hear about the iPad as a viable technology. Certainly there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the iPad is unworthy of consideration as a business tool.

However, there is also increasing evidence that IT does in fact get it. I have met several senior IT managers who are whispering that the iPad will change everything. For us to decide which way the wind blows, we need to think harder about the process by which technology gets adopted in large IT organizations. Understanding how the technology is hired by IT managers to improve their career prospects unveils who wins and who loses in IT.

Gartner: as a Media Tablet, iPad deserves to be ignored in PC rankings

“Media tablet hype around devices such as the iPad has also affected consumer notebook growth by delaying some PC purchases, especially in the U.S. consumer market. Media tablets don’t replace primary PCs, but they affect PC purchases in many ways,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “At this stage, hype around media tablets has led consumers and the channels to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to buying a new device.”

Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 7.6 Percent in Third Quarter of 2010.

Fascinating. I’d love to hear more about the non-iPad “media tablets” that delayed PC purchases last quarter. Maybe I don’t get out enough.

But more to the point, let’s combine the data from Gartner and the forecast for iPad.

I show below the impact of the iPad on PC vendor sales. I’m using my own estimates of world-wide PC sales (you can see other estimates here (Apple 2.0))

The world-wide PC units shipped without and with iPad: