Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Apple blogs: please stop confusing Apple shareholders with Apple customers

Apple made bazillions again. They won’t pay corporate tax on it. The share price has gone up.

That’s good for me in one way — I own index funds that hold Apple shares. On balance when those shares go up or Apple pays dividends I get more money. Yay for me, though I’d do just as well if the money went to, say, Microsoft or Google. My index funds own their shares too. So only a little Yay.

Whatever wealth I gain or lose from a change in Apple’s share price, however, is dwarfed by the money I spend on Apple products. Three laptops (one recently expired iMac), five iPhones, Airports, Apple TV, iTunes movies and TV shows and so on. That direct cost is exceeded by the life-time I spend managing Apple’s defects, quality issues, and nastily executed strategic killings. I think on balance I come out ahead — but some days I’m not so sure. The gap is smaller than it used to be.

As an Apple shareholder I’m mildly pleased with Apple. As an Apple customer though, I’m not so pleased. The Apple Watch leaves me cold. Using data lock customer retention while killing products (yeah, Aperture) without a replacement is just bad. The iPad should have been multi-user years ago. 3D Touch isn’t worth the cost, complexity and weight. The iBook mess. The nuttiness of putting a mechanical hard drive and a very expensive display in a non-serviceable iMac. Meanwhile Apple’s traditional 20% cost premium is turning into a 40% premium.

As an Apple customer I’d like to see Apple’s share price fall 20% - as long as one of my other funds gets the value instead. A falling share price might promote interest in existing customers.

So, Apple blogs, please stop paying so much attention to Apple’s share price. It’s just not that important to me.

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