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“We Only Want to Make Good Products”: A Response to Apple’s Reserved Demeanor


Apple's MultiColor Panes

Well, folks, you have it: Apple’s numbers for Q1 2013 are in – and they are not anywhere near “pretty.” The Cupertino, California company had to stare its stagnant financials in the face yesterday and admit that the company has not progressed any further than Q1 2012. Any chart on Apple financials will show you that the company made the same amount of profit this quarter as it did the same quarter in 2012, no more than $13 billion (although revenue rose by approximately $8 billion). Apple’s profit flatlined because of the cannibalization of Apple’s new iPad Mini, but Cook responded by saying that the iPad Mini was “a good opportunity” for Apple instead of admitting that his company fell far short of Wall Street expectations.

Roger Cheng of CNET notes that analysts contacted Tim Cook about the discouraging quarterly financials and did not answer analysts’ questions about the future of the company:

“Apple executives, meanwhile, didn’t really help their case on yesterday’s conference call with analysts. In answering a question on where Apple sees market share in the high-end smartphone market, Cook responded by saying the company only cares about making good products – an answer that seemingly elicited a laugh from the analyst” (Roger Cheng, Apple Still in the Doghouse with Wall Street).

When has a company as powerful as Apple stared media and investors in the face and claimed that “we only want to make good products”? This is not the time for such a reserved demeanor in the face of stagnant financial growth for the company. This was a time for Tim Cook to admit that he and Apple need to come forward with a new strategy in order to change the company’s financial outlook. Anyone who runs a business and makes no more money this quarter than it did Q1 2012 would be desperate to find something new to rake in additional profit this year and secure the assurance of investors. In Tim Cook’s case, the media was waiting for a public confession that “we haven’t done enough,” but got a reserved demeanor instead. Either Tim Cook is crazy or he thinks that seeming confidence will be contagious on both investors and the economy – a view that, in my opinion, is nothing short of wishful thinking.

How many times have we seen Apple announcements in which the company brags about its graphs and statistics? Just this past September 2012, Cook bragged to the attendees about how much better the iPad fares in the consumer market than any of the iPad’s competition (Google and other Android tablets). According to Cook’s words at the time, “the other tablets are apparently getting thrown into a drawer somewhere” (paraphrase). And when Apple introduced its new iPad Mini last Fall, Apple VP Phil Schiller placed the Google Nexus 7 on screen and compared its specifications to the iPad Mini (without referring to the tablet by name). Apple has always prided itself on having sold more iPhones and iPads than any other smartphone and tablet manufacturer. The company always brags about how many downloads the App Store received in the given year, and how many carriers it has partnered with around the world. Apple is a company that boasts of its numbers, money made, money given to app developers, and how much of a difference the company’s products are making in the lives of children, business professionals, and even disabled children – as well as announce its new store openings (the most recent being a store in Paris).

Apple is a company that cares about more than just making good products: the company also cares about selling good products. Unfortunately, in a time when investors needed to see that the company had a forte in the latter, it could only demonstrate a desire in the former.

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