Thursday, January 15, 2009

Apple Inc. is a Village, not One Man

Apple Store, Annapolis 59426

Business writers once again turn to Apple, Inc., focusing their attention only on Steve Job's health. Famous analysts and popular columnists seem to enjoy looking through murky tunnels and guessing what might happen to Apple in the CEO's absence. They appear blind to accomplishments achieved by all the other people that make up Apple's greater community. The actual performance of Apple Inc. seems to hold no value for pundits and many investors alike.

Here is a quick overview of Apple facts for the last 12 months. Keep in mind that the U.S. economy has been in a recession for this entire period:

  • Sales Growth of more than 35%
  • Income Growth of more than 25%
  • Nearly $5 billion dollars in income earned on $32.5 billion dollars in sales.
  • A Net Profit Margin of nearly 15%
  • Return on Equity of 27%
  • $25 billion in cash on-hand.
  • 67% of nearly 900 million shares owned by institutions.

These are facts, not idle speculation. It is true that these numbers are constantly changing. It is also true that Apple products are gaining market share even as the overall market appears to be shrinking.

Yesterday a network engineer showed me how he can keep track of his network traffic using his iPhone and a very secure application. My friend opened an iPhone application and quickly entered a few Unix commands.

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The person serving the table beside us saw this demonstration and pulled out her iPhone. She wanted to prove to me how easy it was to keep in-touch with other college students by text message. She told me that phone service with unlimited text messaging on other phone services cost only $10 a month a less. She told me that she can easily do Internet job searches (she will not be waiting tables after graduation) with the iPhone Safari browser. "Using the Internet with other phones is not that easy."

The owner of the restaurant came over to briefly join our discussion. He was not there to get his employees back to work. He wanted to demonstrate how easily he could view the images on his restaurant's security cameras using his iPhone. He said this ability has thwarted multiple theft attempts in just the past few months. His insurance rates have been reduced as a result.

A man that invests in the Foreign Exchange markets recently pulled out his iPhone to show how easily he could buy and sell currency. An artist showed me how she landed two commissions by using her iPhone to promptly choose and send samples of her art to buyers.

I do not own an iPhone, yet. I have operated my photography and technical writing businesses for the past 4 years using an Apple G5 tower. More recently, I replaced an older Sony laptop with a far more reliable MacBook Pro.

Avocado and MacBook 077481

Apple Inc. hardware and software make sense to me and my friends. We trust the work of all Apple employees to help us manage our businesses and even parts of our personal lives.

Every single one of us knows that we are living beings subject to all the forces that act on organisms. We also know that we are part of societies and communities that only succeed through the efforts of everyone involved. One person can make a big difference but it takes entire villages to make a society. Apple Inc. is one such village.

Tim Cook is once again going to be the new village chief. We all wish Mr. Jobs a speedy recovery as well.

Previous Articles on Apple, Inc.:

Apple's Future

Using Your iPhone To Avoid Traffic


Washington Post Article
Fortune Magazine: When Tim Cook Ran Apple
Financial Times Article

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